Minister of Foreign Affairs Özdil Nami, who went to Strasbourg for a series of contacts met with the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Stefan Füle yesterday (23 October) and exchanged views with regard to the Cyprus problem.

Within the framework of his program in Strasbourg, Foreign Minister Nami and his accompanying delegation also came together with the Members of European Parliament (MEPs), Deputy Chairmen and Chairman of the group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats Hannes Swoboda besides other officials. Nami stated that the EU officials he met were very much willing for an early and just settlement in Cyprus.

Speaking to Turkish Cypriot daily Kıbrıs, Özdil Nami pointed out that during his meeting with Füle they mainly focused on the Cyprus problem and discussed all its aspects. Nami added that they also exchanged views on making the Green Line and Financial Aid regulations more efficient by eliminating the existing problems.

Explaining that additionally, they discussed the ways of accelerating studies regarding the harmonization of the TRNC laws with those of the EU, Foreign Minister Nami said, the EU acquis communitaire would be implemented in North Cyprus following a possible solution, thus discussing the issue was very fruitful.

“They cannot understand why the negotiations could not be launched because of a disagreement on the joint statement text”, said Nami stressing that Füle supported the Turkish Cypriot side’s point of view to the effect that the negotiations should start as soon as possible and the Turkish Cypriot’s priorities should also be included in the text.

Referring to the  European Parliament elections in May 2014, Nami said the common idea of the EU was the start and finalization of the negotiations as early as possible, before this date, as they could be negatively affected from this situation.

Noting that during the meeting, Stefan Füle drew attention to the importance of time and acting quickly in the negotiations, Nami said: “There is an increasing interest for a solution in the EU compared to the past. The European officials have all expressed the belief that the existing window of opportunity should not be missed”.

Explaining that the issue of Maras (Varosha) was not discussed in detail during the meeting with Füle, Nami said the Turkish Cypriot side and the EU Commission have maintained their existing positions on the issue. Nami also underlined that a development with regard to the Direct Trade Regulation was not expected in the near future.

Making a reference to the Greek Cypriot side’s demand for an enhanced role of the EU in the negotiations, Nami said he conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side’s position on the issue to Füle. “Mr. Füle is also in favor of the continuation of the EU’s existing position. He said, if the two sides achieve progress in the negotiations and agree to invite the EU, then the EU is ready to make a wider contribution to the negotiations”, Nami added.

Stating that he conveyed the Turkish Cypriot side’s plan aimed at reaching a settlement in March 2014 and the expectation of support from the Greek Cypriot side on the issue to the MEPs, Nami noted:

“We said that if we act within the framework of the existing convergences, we can reach a conclusion. The first goal is reaching an agreement on the joint statement text that will pave the way for the leaders’ meeting.  Apart from these, we also conveyed the issue of the invitation of two Turkish Cypriot MPs to the European Parliament under the observer status. Accordingly, we  reminded the President of the EP Martin Shultz’s promise to take up this issue at the EP Presidency until the end of this year and  reiterated our request in this respect”.