Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday Cyprus had “tremendous opportunities for growth and prosperity” if the two communities reached a solution, but to overcome division the Turkish Cypriot side must honour last February’s joint declaration, ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports.
Reflecting the same sentiments, Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis said in Brussels that refusing to discuss the key issues of territory, settlers and security were hindering progress in the now faltering peace talks.
Speaking at the unveiling of a monument to honour the missing, fallen and murdered residents of Ayios Giorgos in Kyrenia, Anastasiades called on the Turkish Cypriots to meet their obligations deriving from the joint declaration and discuss all unresolved key issues at the negotiating table and across chapters.
He argued that following the leaders’ meeting on 2nd June, UN acting special adviser Lisa Buttenheim, had expressed this view in her statement.
The president said the Greek Cypriot side was waiting for the Turkish Cypriots to bring written proposals to the table on all chapters so that the negotiations can proceed to the next stage.
Greek Cypriot chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, speaking at the European Policy Centre think tank in Brussels argued that for 40 years now, the Turkish side had not accepted the need to discuss the three fundamental and interconnected issues of territory, settlers and security, adding that their discussion was a pre-requisite to finding a solution.
The Greek Cypriot negotiator also said the Turkish side seemed unwilling to accept an enhanced EU role in the peace process.
“This is of fundamental importance for us,” he said.
Mavroyiannis also expressed the view that there could be no permanent derogations from the EU acquis communautaire in a peace settlement, though certain transitional periods could be acceptable, until the Turkish Cypriot side adjusts to the acquis.
Regarding Turkey’s contribution, Mavroyiannis said the Turkish officials he has spoken with are “serious” when they say they wish to move towards a solution of the Cyprus problem. “However, “I do not know how far they are willing to go”, he said.
For his part, Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu was quoted yesterday as saying that the Greek Cypriots see the Turkish Cypriots as a minority and do not want to give them their rights, thereby preventing a solution.
His Turkish Cypriot counterpart Kudret Ozersay was quoted in ‘Kibris’ newspaper saying: “The Cyprus problem has actually ended in a sense. Because everything has been exhausted, what should be done is to enter into a kind of a give-and-take that will step by step close the existing differences between the sides.”
Ozersay has long argued that the exploitation of the island’s natural resources should be tied to a comprehensive solution or to the consent of the Turkish Cypriots.
The two negotiators meet again today to discuss citizenship, federal powers and federal jurisdiction, according to Ozersay.
The next leaders’ meeting will be on 23rd June.