Turkish Cypriot negotiator, Ozdil Nami has said that the hard part of the negotiations was yet to come. What they have been doing until now was to “take a picture of the existing situation”. In statements to Kanal Sim television, Nami said on Thursday that the actual thorny negotiations are about to start. “It seems that a significantly positive climate has been secured”, he noted adding that this positive climate and putting all the positive elements in a basket is important, to try and avoid difficult relations when problems arose.
Referring to the forthcoming substantial negotiations, Nami said that the prepared convergences documents will be used within a particular framework and that during the process, one side or the other may want to prepare a new document.
Noting that the UN has expressed great satisfaction with the current climate in the negotiations, Nami added that they also say that in general, the negotiations begin positively and afterwards problems come up. “For this reason they continuously give the message that it would be useful for us to proceed speedily”, he argued, pointing out that both sides are ready to proceed quickly.
Expressing the hope of achieving convergences and visiting New York in September, Nami said that “perhaps in September in New York, we will have the opportunity to discuss guarantees as well, in an environment in which the guarantor powers will also be present”. He noted that he observed that the same idea “was beginning to be formed on the Greek Cypriot side as well”.
Asked about the possibility of having a referendum by the end of the year, Nami replied that the substantial negotiations are only just about to begin and it is too early to make such a prediction. Recalling Turkish Cypriot President Akinci’s statement that the process should last for months rather than years, Nami noted that “this issue should not be delayed for a long time” and underlined that “there are two negotiating teams which work with great sacrifice and good will and there is a window of opportunity”.
Nami pointed out that the target is to find a comprehensive solution and that both community leaders stress this at every opportunity. He expressed the view that the confidence building measures (CBM) will not speed up the negotiations, but they could be used as “means to reflect the positive climate at the negotiating table”.
Noting that both leaders share the same vision and trust each other, Nami said that “the CBMs are important from the point of view of increasing the faith of both communities and achieving motivation at the negotiating table”.
He argued that the new practice [to speed up the crossing] implemented by the TRNC at the border check points indicates, in a concrete manner, that some things are changing and added that the new process increases the perception that a solution could be found to long entrenched problems.
Replying to a question on the opening of the border crossing points at Aplic and Derinya, Nami said that no target date has been set for when these crossing points will open, but the political decision has been taken and neither side is in favour of further postponement. He noted that serious work should be undertaken in order to open up the crossing points and added that the negotiators are focused on a comprehensive solution. “This is our priority”, he said.
Replying to another question, Nami noted that the issues of the fenced off city of Varosha and Ercan airport are not the priority and that more “practical issues” will be prioritised by the leaders as regards CBMs.