Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who was in New York last week within the framework of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly, evaluated his contacts to the Turkish Cypriot daily “Kıbrıs” and expressed the belief that the negotiation process would succeed.
Foreign Minister Nami stated that the negotiations might not start in October, because the Greek Cypriot side did not put forward a view towards the resumption of the negotiations from where they were left. Pointing out that it was not possible to respond positively to the Greek Cypriot side’s demands regarding active involvement of the EU in the negotiation process and the return of Maraş (Varosha), Foreign Minister Nami said, furthermore the Greek Cypriot side’s demand for an intensive preparation period before the start of the negotiations was unnecessary, as there was sufficient background as a result of 40 years long negotiation process.
Reminding that March 2014, would be the 50th anniversary of the UN’s involvement in the Cyprus problem, Foreign Minister Nami said: “First UN Security Council Resolution was adopted in March 1964. Now, we are approaching to March 2014, and everyone perceives this as an indication that it’s time for the Cyprus problem to be finalized”.
Explaining that there were some disagreements between the two sides and they had the opportunity to convey their views on eliminating them to the UN Secretary General in New York, Nami said: “Turkish Cypriot side requests the negotiations to reach a rapid result. For this, we believe that it is necessary to maintain the convergences achieved till today and to work on the remaining divergences by taking into consideration the existing convergences”.
Referring to Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades’ letter sent to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Foreign Minister Nami said, Mr. Anastasiades is mentioning the active involvement of the EU in the negotiations and is also talking about adding new elements that would change the rules of the game and by this way was making a reference to the return of Maraş to the Greek Cypriot side before a solution. Nami expressed the belief that such attempts would make the negotiation process difficult.
Stating that the Greek Cypriot side also mentioned opening the way of direct negotiations with Turkey by disregarding the Turkish Cypriot side, Nami said this is not going to happen. He also said it is not possible for the EU to sit at the negotiation table. Foreign Minister reminded that the Greek Cypriot side and Greece had full EU membership and right to vote, whereas the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey neither had the EU membership, nor the right to vote in the EU. Nami underlined that this unbalanced situation was in itself an impeding condition for a representative of the EU to sit at the negotiation table with increased powers.
Foreign Minister Nami noted that on the other hand, the sides which would carry out the negotiations were defined by the UN, as such the negotiations should be conducted between the two communities on the island under the supervision of the UN Secretary General.
Stressing that everyone was talking about result-oriented negotiations Nami said a work plan consistent with this was needed. He said both sides have been working on joint text to be announced by the leaders and if the text could be shaped by next week, this would be a welcomed positive development.
Emphasizing that solution of the Cyprus problem would bring important economic gains for both Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, Nami referred to; saving on military expenditures, maximum benefit from energy transmission lines, use of water to be transferred from Turkey for the benefit of the whole island. He also underlined that the added value that will be created in agriculture and tourism sectors henceforth for the whole island; new horizons to be opened in the maritime sector; investment climate, which will be created as a result of the country getting out of this extraordinary situation and becoming a normal EU member and said: “In other words, when we put all these together, it will be possible to talk about a much more prosperous Cyprus”.