Prime Minister, Irsen Kucuk, met at a working lunch in Washington, yesterday with Eric Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the US Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. The latest developments in the Cyprus problem were discussed during the meeting and Kucuk conveyed the message that the Cyprus negotiations should start without delay.
After his meeting with Eric Rubin, Kucuk met also with Robert Wexler, president of the Middle East Peace Centre, one of the most important think tanks. Kucuk expressed his views and expectations on the Cyprus problem during this meeting and argued that the time has come for this problem to be solved as its continuation poisons regional and global relations and cooperation.
Kucuk in his first speech made in the US said that there were new opportunities for a lasting peace on the island.
Speaking at a meeting of the Turkish American Association, he said that the new factors were the gas reserves in the South and the water pipeline to the North.
The Prime Minister went on to stress that cooperation was needed between the two sides and re-iterated that negotiations should start without delay. He felt that the Greek Cypriot leadership should not postpone talks until they had sorted out their economic problems adding that surely any agreement would enhance the economic strength of both sides.
Kucuk felt that if the Greek Cypriot side insisted on claiming the offshore gas reserves as their own rather than acknowledging that they belonged to the whole island, then this would cause problems for the future. In addition, it would exclude using Turkey as the natural bridge to transmit the gas finds to Europe. This would make their project difficult and expensive.
The Prime Minister will attend a dinner at the Turkish American Association in Washington and will then meet with some members of congress individually before flying to New York.