Following comments made on Wednesday by Greek Defence Minister Panos Kemmenos that Greece is working for a solution to the Cyprus problem, but guarantor powers were no longer required, newly elected TRNC President Mustafa Akinci was invited to comment.
He told Turkish daily ‘Star’ that guarantees arose out of international treaties and cannot be dismissed by a single statement.
Since 1960 Cyprus has been under the Treaty of Guarantee by Greece, Turkey and the UK. It was under the same agreement that Turkey launched a peace-keeping mission in 1974.
“There is Turkey, Greece, Great Britain, South Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus”, Akinci said.
“Therefore, one side saying guarantees should be ended cannot end guarantors’ rights. Greece saying that unilaterally is of no consequence.”
Stating his priorities, Akinci said the most important item on his agenda is the Cyprus problem.
“There have been negotiations since 1968,” he said.
“Our hope is that these negotiations will culminate in a positive result in 2015. We have discussed this issue with [Turkey’s deputy Prime Minister] Mr Arinc and Turkey’s wishes are in this direction.”
In reference to power sharing in the event of a solution, Akinci referring to this week’s tripartite summit between Egypt, Greece, and [South] Cyprus, as well as the ‘Nicosia Accord’, Akinci said the initiative is “indicative of the Greek-Cypriot mind-set, that they are the only sovereign power”.
“The Greek Cypriot side operates under the assumption that it is the only sovereign country and the sole protector of citizens’ rights,” he said.
“I believe this is wrong. Natural gas is wealth belonging jointly to both communities. And I believe that this resource can fund the solution. It is wrong for it to be turned into a point of friction, even before it is extracted.”
He singled out power-sharing as one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the negotiations, .
“The Greek Cypriot side, arguing that ‘I am the state, the entire world recognises me as the state’ has been extremely tight on the issue of sharing power,” Akinci said.
“If they accept that on this island they are politically equal with us, then we will have overcome the most important obstacle. Agreement on all other issues will become easier.”
Regarding the announcement by Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that there would be some confidence building measures on offer, Akinci said that they did not go far enough.
“It was hardly appropriate to announce these through the press,” Akinci said.
“It is noted that maps to minefields on the Besparmak Mountains will be handed over. And yet, this is an issue that concerns public safety and should have been announced much earlier.”
“I don’t wish to react negatively, but much more needs to be done, like lifting the embargo”, he concluded.
Star, Cyprus Mail