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Returning Maras would be a game changer: Kasoulides

19 June 2013

Returning Maras/Varosha, the fenced off area of Famagusta to its former occupants could be a “game changer” in the Cyprus negotiations, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Kasoulides has said.

In a radio interview, Kasoulides spoke of the issues he discussed with his British counterpart William Hague during his recent visit to London; however he refused to go into details about any EU formula regarding Famagusta. He said that nothing had happened yet as far as the EU was concerned.

“We hope that an effort will be underway”, he noted, adding when the time comes all will be revealed.

Asked about approaches to the talks, he said that he conveyed to Hague the Republic’s position on the need for confidence building measures and for the appointment of a negotiator on the part of the Greek Cypriot side.

Referring to the issue of Famagusta, Kasoulides noted that “everyone understands that something is needed that will constitute a game changer” adding that “for us Famagusta is the great step forward”.

Undoubtedly, he said, it would improve significantly existing trust issues between the two sides and enable the peace talks to proceed with the resolution of matters of substance as far as the Cyprus issue is concerned.

Referring to Turkey having to be involved in the peace effort rather than have the process being ‘Cyprus owned’, Kasoulides said that during his meeting with Hague, he explained that the proposition that the two communities alone can solve the Cyprus problem is an illusion.

The differences between the two communities are small and can easily be resolved, he pointed out, adding that on the other hand South Cyprus and Turkey have huge differences which need to be resolved. Therefore, he said, a way must be found for South Cyprus and Turkey to enter into talks directly.

The foreign minister that Turkey had an important role to play as far as progress in the talks was concerned, otherwise negotiations would only ended up being a replay of all the other talks held over the past 37 years.

“I think our position was fully understood”, he said, explaining that it is not for him to express Britain’s position. As for my part, he added, “I feel I have conveyed the message and that it has reached its destination.”

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