“There is a consensus for the continuation of the Cyprus Summit in Geneva in March. Eide conveyed his contacts in Ankara and Athens. The guarantors are OK with the second half of March. It seems like we can agree on the week which starts on the 13th. The date is not certain yet. We will set it in the coming days,” President Akinci said after his meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday.
At the meeting, the two community leaders were briefed by UN-Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide on his recent contacts in Ankara and Athens.
Explaining that he had shared with Anastasiades the results of his inspections of the Derinya and Aplic border crossing points during the meeting, he said that works for the Aplic Gate were continuing fast in the North. He noted, however, that even though there was a long road to be constructed, works had not yet started in the South.
“I conveyed this to Anastasiades and he assured me that the necessary works will be carried out,” Akinci added.
The President also touched upon the recent vandalism against Turkish Cypriot number plated cars in Trodoos.
“It is important to find and punish the perpetrators of these attacks. It is also important for the Turkish Cypriot people to see these people were punished,” he said.
Stating that there were around 8-10 important subjects which needed to be agreed on, Akinci said during the meeting they exchanged views on unresolved disagreements as well as on the issues of the active participation of Turkish Cypriots to the decisions and the equal treatment of the Turkish and Greek nationals.
Explaining that they will continue to discuss these issues next week, President Akinci said other chapters will also be taken up when necessary.
He added that another two meetings will be held in February and that they could also set new meeting dates for March.
Responding to a question regarding the four freedoms, President Akinci said he had conveyed his views on this issue during the meeting, adding that more detailed discussions will be held on the issue next week.
Pointing out that Turkey has rights derived from the Customs Union, Akinci said: “There is a Customs Union agreement signed between Turkey and the EU. There is an effort to broaden this agreement. However, Turkey is not a member of the EU and it is not known when it will be. Although the conditions for Turkey to be treated as a full member could not be realised 100%, it is possible to find a balanced solution with Greece.”
“During my contacts with the EU officials in Geneva I observed that they can make contributions to this. A reasonable framework could be formed. There is a need to slowly prepare the two peoples for the realities. This is what we are trying to do. ‘This is not possible’ is not a helpful statement,” the President added.
Responding to another question regarding the issue of rotating presidency, he said the Greek Cypriot side will accept this when the negotiations reach a certain point.
“Those who do not want to be seen accepting this today, should at least indirectly prepare their people in order not to experience difficulties tomorrow, when they will come to the stage of accepting it. It is clearly known by all related sides and the two sides that a solution which will not include the rotating presidency, one of the most important elements for our political equality, will not happen or even be taken to a referendum,” Akinci pointed out.
Stressing the importance of a healthy dialogue between all institutions in the country, especially the parliament, the government and the opposition parties, he announced that he will also brief other political parties and civil society organisations on the course of the negotiations process next week.
“I was chosen to perform this duty by the people. I assumed and have been continuing this duty since April 2015. The Cyprus issue and the negotiations are the two most important factors. The ‘do not negotiate or leave the table’ approaches contradict the duty given to me by the people,” Akinci said.
Pointing out that the negotiations had been conducted within the framework of the 11th February 2014 agreement; he reminded that all political parties had given approval to this agreement.