Parties not proceeding on four chapters in Cyprus talks: Turkish FM
ANKARAThe parties to the Cyprus dispute have not been able to proceed on four negotiation topics on the issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the Greek Cypriots had focused on guarantees and security issues, instead of discussing topics on other chapters, before a new round of talks are set to start in Geneva on Jan. 9.
“There are clearer points in many chapters, instead of focusing on them, they bring Turkey’s guarantees and security issues to the agenda,” Çavuşoğlu told state-run Anadolu Agency on Jan. 4.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı are to meet in Geneva on Jan. 9 after negotiations broke down last month.
If all goes well, they will be joined on Jan. 12 by the guarantor powers of Cyprus – Britain, which is the former colonial power, Greece and Turkey.
Emphasizing that Turkey did not favor “giving any kind of concessions” to the solution, Çavuşoğlu said that if there was to be a solution, both sides should have a common understanding.
The Turkish Cypriot people want Turkey to continue as a guarantor because they want to feel safe, the minister said, adding that any agreement for a settlement in Cyprus should be part of the European Union’s primary law.
While the Turkish Cypriot side and the United Nations expressed hope that the talks in Geneva would produce a peaceful result, Greece said the talks would be conducted in an open-ended manner.
“The choice now is very much about using this opportunity, or losing it,” U.N. special envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said after talks in Athens with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias on Jan. 4.
“We are of course only planning for success, but I think we have to be frank... the inability to solve it this time will not mean that we have another chance in three months... one year or five years, we don’t know,” Eide said.
Akıncı, who was set to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Jan. 5 in Ankara, said a historic opportunity “should not be lost” and that they would go to Geneva in a positive mood and in a constructive atmosphere, while warning that 2017 would be distressing if there is no solution.
“The hydrocarbon issue in the spring will get hotter, and drillings in the Mediterranean will come onto the agenda. The election campaign activities of the Greek Cypriots in February 2018 will come to the agenda and such risks will be able to delay the negotiations until mid-2018,” Akıncı said.
Kotzias, on the other hand, said the Geneva talks were going to be conducted in an open-ended form and that they had received guarantees from the U.N. that taking a break in the talks would not mean a total withdrawal.
Kotzias said that if the talks are halted this would not mean a total suspension of the talks and that the talks could be continued at a later date “with better preparation,” state-run Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying.
He said they had received a U.N. guarantee for this.
“There is not an option for the negotiations to fail,” he said.