Foreign Minister Özdil Nami has stated that the Greek Cypriots have incited the reaction of the international community by abandoning the negotiation table and expressed his expectation that Greek Cypriot Leader Nikos Anastasiades will re-evaluate the new circumstances of the situation and return to the negotiations.
Assessing the situation regarding the Cyprus negotiation process to AA reporter, Nami indicated that it was the Greek Cypriot side which abandoned the negotiation table and that this constituted a wrong move by the Greek Cypriot leader. “By abandoning the negotiation table, the Greek Cypriots have incited the reaction of the international community. We are waiting for the Greek Cypriot leader to re-evaluate the new circumstances of the situation and return to the table”, stated Nami, and added that he believes the Greek Cypriot leader will return to the negotiation table following the presidential elections which will take place in the TRNC on 19 April.
Emphasizing that the hydrocarbons issue has been reflected by the Greek Cypriot side as a crisis, Nami stated “The Turkish Cypriot side requests that the hydrocarbon issue be viewed as one which will contribute to a settlement”, and further added “We will not allow this issue to be used as a bargaining chip against the Turkish Cypriot people. I believe that the Greek Cypriot leader has clearly understood this under the current circumstances. He has seen that the Turkish Cypriot side will not remain unresponsive in light of his unilateral activities on the island. I hope that, in light of all things considered, the Greek Cypriot leader decides to step away from his wrongdoings and that the negotiations commence in the appropriate manner in the first weeks of May. The Navtex issued on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot side has expired and the exploration vessel has left. Will the Greek Cypriot leader treat this situation positively and return to the negotiation table? Or will he put forward preconditions similar to the one he announced in January to the effect that ‘this is not enough, the Turkish Cypriot side should commit to never issuing another Navtex again’? If he refrains from placing preconditions and suspends his activities in the region, we will consider this positively, at which point the negotiations can recommence. The ball is in the Greek Cypriot side’s court.”
“Negotiations should continue from where left off”
Nami pointed out that Anastasiades did not remain loyal to his signature on the Joint Declaration of the Leaders dated 11 February 2014, adding “…the United Nations did not react to this. In fact, the main problem regarding moving forward in the Cyprus issue is neither the hydrocarbons issue nor the Navtex. It is the problem created with the rejection of the Greek Cypriot side to respect convergences reached between the two sides until today. Therefore, this issue needs to be clarified in the beginning of the new negotiation process. The negotiation process should continue from where left off, not from scratch”. Nami underlined that “Turkish Cypriot side’s optimism and good will is not enough in Cyprus on its own” adding that “the Greek Cypriot side, by hiding behind its internationally recognized status, is placing high demands on the table. Moreover, it has the audacity to put forward that it will not adhere to the convergences reached thus far. The international community will have an important role to play in the upcoming period”.
“There is a great part to be played by the world and the international community”
Stating that in order for the hydrocarbons issue to contribute to a comprehensive settlement, all relevant parties, particularly the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) members, must give a very clear message to the Greek Cypriot side, Nami added: “You have already agreed in the negotiations. Natural resources of Cyprus belongs to Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots equally. Therefore, the first thing that you need to do is to form the federal government. Unless you form the federal government, it is not possible for us to establish a partnership with you on the hydrocarbon issue”.
If they clearly give such a message, this will bring the Greek Cypriots closer to a comprehensive settlement. If they take a contradictory stance, the Greek Cypriots will want to use this resource as a bargaining chip which strengthens their hand at the negotiation table rather than one which can serve to reunite the island. As we have seen, they are exerting efforts to establish strategic alliances with Israel, Egypt and Lebanon. They are exerting more efforts on establishing such relations rather than reaching an agreement with the Turkish Cypriots. There is a great part to be played by the world and the international community”.