President Mustafa Akinci has said that if the Cyprus problem is not solved in the current negotiations, “this will not only be the last experiment of our generation, but it could be assessed as the last experiment for the federal system”.
In a joint interview with reporters of Havadis and Phileleftheros / Cyprus Weekly newspapers, Akinci said that the negotiations to establish a federation have lasted for a long time and added that with President Anastasiades he shares the view that if they could not find a federal solution, the next generations “will put the emphasis on other solution models”. Akinci said that he and President Anastasiades believed that a solution in 2016 is achievable.
The will to find a solution is there, Akinci said adding that “we do not need years to find a solution in Cyprus”.
Arguing that now is a sensitive time because of the parliamentary elections to be held in May in the South, Akinci said that after May “speedy developments are possible”. “Until then we will try to achieve more progress on the four chapters on which we have made progress until now”, he said. He added that progress has been achieved on the chapters of Governance and Power Sharing, the EU, Economy and Property. He noted that in the above chapters there are also issues that remain unresolved and they will try to conclude those as far as possible.
Asked what is expected in the next stage, Akinci replied:
“I am suggesting the discussion of the Territory and the Security/ Guarantees in a different format where the map, the percentages and place names will be discussed. No concrete decision has been taken yet on these issues. However, on the territory issue we do not want a situation like now, to shuttle back and forth and meanwhile these issues to become front-page news in the papers. We want to discuss territory in a continuous process. And right after territory, we want to complete the Security and the Guarantees with the participation of the guarantors”.
Asked about confidence building measures, Akinci argued that the Turkish Cypriot side has done whatever it promised, but the Greek Cypriot side says that there is a law creating an obstacle to the connection of the mobile phone networks. He argued that if the obstacle was in TRNC laws, he would meet with the political parties and overcome the problem.
Asked about the other factors which make the solution possible, Akinci said that the most important issue is energy and reiterated the view that energy resources in the Eastern Mediterranean will either be turned into a field of cooperation or into a means of conflict. He argued that the most “simple, quick and cheap” route for transferring energy from Israel through Cyprus to Europe is via Turkey.
Referring to the water which was transferred from Turkey to the North, Akinci said:
“Water came here from Turkey. The water came using new technology. This is an important project. Currently 75 million cubic meters will be transferred here. In the future, when Cyprus is united, it is possible to create the capacity for the whole of Cyprus to benefit with this technology. Therefore, this also is a factor, the electricity-water-natural gas and the mutual dependence which they will create, will be dependence in a positive direction. It is a form of dependence which will create possibilities for cooperation. And the last factor is the following: The international community is really supporting this solution. Turkey, Greece, the UN and the EU need such an example.”