Foreign Minister Özdil Nami has made the following speech at the European Union Socialist Group meeting in Brussels yesterday (18.2.2014):

Dear Comrades,

It gives me great pleasure to be among you today. I will use this opportunity to give you a concise overview of the current state of negotiations to resolve the Cyprus issue which is entering its 50th year at the UN agenda this coming March.

Dear friends,

Last time I addressed you I expressed my conviction that soon we will see the resumption of talks in Cyprus between the leaders of the two communities. I underlined that already during the 2008-2010 period negotiations yielded significant agreements and convergences and that once talks start they could be finalized in months and not years.

Today I have the great pleasure to be able to share with you that although it took longer than I had hoped we finally have the resumption of talks accompanied by a historic joint statement of the two leaders on the island.

I specifically underlined the historic nature of the joint statement issued for I believe this text paves the way for rapid progress at the negotiating table by addressing some of the critical issues related to governance and power sharing in a federal Cyprus.

Namely, with their joint statement of last week the two leaders agreed that their goal is to achieve a bi-zonal bi-communal federation with political equality between the two sides.

That this Federation will have a single sovereignty defined as sovereignty enjoyed by all UN member states under the UN Charter and which emanates equally from Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots.

The Federation will have single international personality and single citizenship. All citizens of the Federation will also be the citizens of either the Turkish Cypriot constituent state or the Greek Cypriot constituent state.

The Federation will be composed of two constituent states of equal status.Neither side will claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.

Powers listed in the constitution will be exercised by the Federal Government; the rest i.e. residual powers will be exercised by the constituent states.

Principles upon which the European Union is founded as well as the bi-zonal bi-communal nature of the federation will be safeguarded.

Leaders also agreed that they will concentrate on the remaining core issues indicating that already achieved convergences in previous rounds of talks will be respected unless there is a suggestion which improves on them in a mutually agreeable manner.

Today on both sides of the island there is a sense of increased optimism due to this long awaited progress. There is also a sense of confidence that this time we will be able to resolve the issue.

You may ask what has changed and made this positive development possible. And why should this development yield anything different than the past statements previously agreed by the Cypriot leaders!

There are indeed various factors which contributed to this positive development and instill hope that we may this time be successful in uniting Cyprus. There are various factors at play of course but some of the main ones in my view are:

Economic challenges faced on both sides of the island is making more and more people aware that there is a need for a radical change in economic factors if we are to achieve economic growth beyond the normal rates.

Discovery of natural resources is another recent development that forces Cypriots to settle their issue if we are to benefit from these riches in a cost effective, speedy and stable manner.

Politicians who said “Yes” to the UN Comprehensive Settlement plan of 2004 are in power on both sides of the island.

Renewed interest in enhancing Turkey-EU relations as well as the strong support given by Turkey for rapid progress in the talks.

Dear friends,

We are entering into a critical period. During this time the European Union may also play an important role in helping the two sides. In particular there is a need to step up efforts to help prepare the future Turkish Cypriot constituent state for the full adoption and implementation of the aquis so that after unification we will be able to remove its suspended status in a speedy manner. This necessitates intensification of cooperation between us as well as furthering of technical and financial assistance for the Turkish Cypriot community. The new pro-EU Government has expatiated EU harmonization process and adopted 70 different laws and regulations that will enable smooth unification of the   island.

We also need to find a way to enable elected representatives of the Turkish Cypriot community to actively participate in the European Parliament in anticipation of united Cyprus. We welcome the initiative taken by the S&D group regarding this issue but the fact that EU parliament could not manage to create a formula to accommodate this need continues to be a disappointment for the Turkish Cypriots.

Let me conclude by expressing my thanks to President Swoboda for giving me this opportunity today to address you and also to thank the S&D group for its strong solidarity with my party The Republican Turkish Party throughout these years. President Martin Schultz, and President Hannes Swoboda as well as comrades like Mechtild Rothe and Jan Marinus Wiersma and Libor Roucek have done their outmost to keep the ties among us strong and for that we are grateful.