Main opposition party (CTP) leader Mehmet Ali Talat has underlined the importance of reaching a settlement to the Cyprus problem before the end of 2016.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the CTP leader said the process towards reaching a settlement before the end of the year, which he referred to as a natural deadline, is rapidly continuing.
“Reaching a settlement before the end of 2016 is a must. A solution in 2016 is necessary not only because of the next upcoming elections in South Cyprus but because of the volatile state of the region”, he said.
The CTP leader also said that a solution was necessary so as to allow the unobstructed transportation of Israel’s natural gas to Europe.
Pointing out that the Greek Cypriot side, which was struggling with economic problems also needed a solution; Talat said that it was the Turkish Cypriot side which needed a solution the most.
“The economic problems, our international isolation and more importantly being left out of international and EU law, are all making life extremely difficult for our people. The road to establishing a modern order and offering our people a life under the guidance of international and European norms comes with a solution”, he said.
Touching upon the current stage reached in the talks, Talat said that only a few differences existed on the chapter of Power Sharing and Governance, primarily on the issue of rotational presidency.
He said that important convergences have been reached on the chapter of EU matters.
Talat pointed out that the Economy Chapter had been completed and other convergences were reached on the chapters of Territory and Security and Guarantees.
Reminding that the two leaders will hold eight meetings up to the first half of September, Talat said that what needs to be done in those meetings, is to finalise the first four chapters through a process of give-and-take before moving onto the last two chapters in detail.
Stressing the importance of preparing people on both sides for a settlement, the CTP leader said that important responsibilities fell not only on the two leaders but the governments, the political parties and civil society on both sides to achieve this.
“The government has a serious responsibility towards preparing the country for a comprehensive settlement. Approaching solution efforts with suspicion and spreading unwarranted fear in the public is unacceptable”, he said.