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Turkey impeding progress on Cyprus talks: Mavroyiannis

13 June 2014

Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis has said that current efforts to solve the Cyprus problem have a better chance of succeeding than those made in the past. He pointed a finger at mainland Turkey for holding up progress by denying a right and just solution to the Cyprus problem, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

Speaking during an event organised in Limassol on “The new effort for a Cyprus settlement”, Mavroyiannis said that efforts made by the Greek Cypriot side have failed thus far because Turkey had no real incentive to solve the Cyprus problem.

He went on to say that during this period there are some developments that could facilitate the settlement of the problem.

Noting that he does not want to give any false messages of hope, Mavroyiannis said that today there are three basic reasons for which there are better chances to reach a conclusion at the negotiations and that these are the fact that Cyprus is an EU member state, that Cyprus’ geopolitical role has been enhanced due to the discovery of hydrocarbons in its EEZ and because Turkey feels for the first time the need “to be part of this game”.

“Therefore this is an opportunity that we have to take advantage of and see if it is possible to reach a settlement, given the current conjuncture, the upgraded international interest and the fact that we are in the EU,” he noted, adding that the effort that has begun is difficult and the task that needs to be fulfilled is an immense one.

He noted that the aim of the preparation that took place from September 2013 until February 2014 was to start a new round of talks that will focus on achieving tangible results. “We also insisted on the right methodology that would allow, at last, all aspects of the Cyprus problem to be discussed in combination and not consecutively,” he added.

Mavroyiannis stressed the need to put all the issues on the table and look into all of their aspects as well as to “safeguard full respect to the human rights of all Cypriots, the right to property, the right to return (to their ancestral homes).”

“We have to ensure that there will be territorial adjustments that will allow the vast majority of refugees to return to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration, and we have to safeguard that EU freedoms will be fully implemented in this country,” he added.

He noted that despite Turkey’s denial to accept a right and just solution of the problem, “we will not give up, we will continue our effort and we are determined to do so having set at the same time high targets.”

Mavroyiannis expressed the belief that “our positions are gradually being met with understanding”, underlining that “we are not trying to deprive any Cypriot citizen, either Greek Cypriot or Turkish Cypriot, of any of his rights. We do not want to deprive the Turkish Cypriot community of any of their rights, we respect their own pain, because in a situation like ours we have all suffered”, he noted.

“At the same time,” he added, “we must not forget the situation on the ground, because there has been an invasion in this country and an ongoing occupation that must be terminated.”

Responding to questions, Mavroyiannis said that there can be no settlement providing for two states on the island, and that the Greek Cypriot side will never accept this.

Furthermore he wondered how “we can co-exist with half a billion Europeans and cannot co-exist with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots.”

Mavroyiannis also said that the Rotating Presidency is not an issue under discussion at the negotiating table, while 50 thousand Turkish settlers continue to remain on the island.

He also noted that the Greek Cypriot side does not accept that Greek and Turkish citizens will enjoy equal rights, as the Greeks have rights enjoyed by all European citizens and cannot be treated on an equal footing with citizens of third countries.

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