President Mustafa Akıncı has repeated that the fact that he will be holding an informal meeting with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on 16 April does not mean that it will be a resumption of the Cyprus negotiations.
Speaking to reporters today following his routine weekly meeting with Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman, the President said that the upcoming meeting will be held with the sole purpose of feeling out the current situation and assessing future steps to be taken.
Referring to the recent statements made by the Greek Cypriot government spokesman, Akıncı said that there was no agreement or understanding that more meetings will follow the social gathering.
Highlighting the importance of dialogue in overcoming differences that exist between the two sides, President Akıncı said that he and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, as elected leaders of their respective communities, had a responsibility towards working on resolving the Cyprus Problem.
“I have been stating the need and importance of holding such a meeting from the beginning. The Greek Cypriot side, now that they have held elections also expressed the desire to meet. The UN did all it could to facilitate such a meeting. I believe that this meeting will be good for both sides in terms of seeing how to proceed in the future”, he said.
Akıncı also pointed out that there was no need to speculate on the meeting to undermine it or put too much meaning into it.
“We don’t need to have prejudices before the meeting. To undermine it, to trivialise it, to overplay it or to read into it”, he said, adding that the meeting was just an opportunity to listen and learn about the other side’s perspective regarding the future.
“The Greek Cypriot leader has five years ahead of him without any political concerns. I myself have never had such concerns. So we are at junction. Which path will we take? Will we walk the same path or will we go our separate ways. This meeting will be important in terms of understanding all of that”, he said.
Also touching upon the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ most recent remarks on political equality, President Mustafa Akıncı said that never in the history of the negotiations has the Turkish Cypriot side insisted on numerical equality for the exception of various federal institutions.
He argued that it was important that Turkish Cypriots be allowed effective participation in decision making in areas where numerical equality will not exist.
“However, currently the bigger problem is the issue of rotational presidency. The Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades has failed to give a clear and open message to his community on this issue that a system of rotational presidency based on 2 to 1 will be an important part of any settlement to be reached. This issue is an absolute must for Turkish Cypriots”, he added.