In an interview with Gerd Höhler from Handelsblatt Online, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami said that the plan prepared by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2004 failed as a result of the Greek Cypriots’ refusal, but now, it is time for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem with the resumption of negotiations.
Stating that due to the uncertainty regarding the Cyprus problem many issues are unfruitful and a great part of sources have been wasted; Foreign Minister Nami said that all these factors are not rational and constructive in terms of investments.
Nami pointed out that Greek Cypriots will need at least 10 or 20 years to reach their previous life standards under normal conditions. Solution of the Cyprus problem can create a great development in the economy and both sides will benefit from a solution. Economic potential of a United Cyprus will be greater than the potential of two separate sides and great synergies will come out.
Minister Nami stated that since the Greek Cypriots are suffering from the economic crisis they should be interested in an agreement. Nami expressed that drinking water pipelines can be laid between Cyprus which has chronic water shortage and Turkey’s water-rich areas, and added that the Greek Cypriots can also benefit from the power lines planned to be installed between Turkey and Cyprus.
Nami pointed out that the guidelines of the solution has already been determined in the joint statement which was negotiated in the last 4 months by the two sides and he added that the joint statement forms the basis of the continuing negotiations which is a federation consisted of two states. Nami expressed that common citizenship of two communities, outside representation of the common citizenship and other constitutional issues are considerably elucidated.
Stating: “The remaining issues are only technical issues that can be solved” Nami added that the negotiations can be finalized in five to six months provided that they were determined and realistic. The Minister drew attention that the negotiations should also be supported by the confidence building measures which will ease the daily life of people.
Nami said that greatest obstacles in front of the negotiations are the old experiences, disappointments after unsuccessful initiatives for a compromise and the lack of confidence in both sides. Indicating that these are psychological rather than real obstacles Nami said: “I don’t want to exaggerate these because economic arguments in favor of a solution are gradually becoming more convincing.”
Nami also said that religious leaders’ coming together and giving support for the negotiations was also a historical step and indicated that especially the Greek Orthodox Church has followed an extremely nationalist policy until today.
Nami said: “We should get rid of fears of the past, look to the future and trust our common future as German and French people did after the Second World War.” Nami pointed out that due to crisis and difficulties in Europe sometimes they forget that above all the EU is a peace project and Cyprus want to be a part of it.