Christofias refuses to go to UN unless deal reached
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (C) shakes hands with Cyprus President Christofias (L) and Turkish counterpart Eroğlu prior to a meeting on July 7, 2011 in Geneva. AFP photoNegotiations to end Cyprus’ division are proceeding poorly, the south’s president has said, noting that if no agreement is reached soon, there would be no reason to convene for special upcoming talks in New York.
“[Turkish Cypriot President Derviş] Eroğlu says, ‘Mr. Christofias wants Morphou and Karpas [in the north],’ while the Annan Plan says Morphou should to be given to us. We hope Turkey will give a green light to a solution. The key to the problem is in Ankara,” Christofias told daily Hürriyet in a recent interview.
“If we can’t make progress at all in the last two meetings, then there really would be no point in going to the meeting in New York that will be held at the end of the month,” he said, referring to special, U.N.-sponsored talks.
Christofias and Eroğlu met yesterday in Nicosia as a part of ongoing peace talks. Noting that Eroğlu and Christofias had reached consensus on some key issues, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser for Cyprus, Alexander Downer, said differences of opinion persisted on management and power-sharing, property and land and citizenship issues.
Christofias said he was eager to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the matter.
“If he invites [me] I will go at once. I think Erdoğan does not drink rakı for religious concerns, but I can drink coffee, rakı or anything,” said Christofias, adding that he would meet Erdoğan in either Istanbul or Ankara.
Turkish Cyprus, however, condemned the statement yesterday, saying Christofias should be addressing Eroğlu, not Erdoğan.
“He should not exceed his authority in his statements,” Turkish Cyprus Prime Minister İrsen Küçük said yesterday.
Küçük said Eroğlu and Christofias were already holding meetings over the Cyprus issue, Anatolia news agency reported. Küçük also accused Christofias of being insincere during the peace talks.
Meanwhile, Christofias called on Turkey not to call the Greek side of the island a “half country” in reference to Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s statement in November 2011 about the prospect of Greek Cyprus taking over the European Union presidency this year as a “half country” leading a “miserable union.”
“It is very insulting to say this to an EU member country, especially [when taking into account the fact that] we are in favor of Turkey’s membership in the EU. This attitude does not demonstrate respect,” said Christofias. Other EU countries do not support Turkey’s attitude either, he added.
Powerful actors in the EU would still have problems with Ankara joining the union even without the Cyprus problem, Christofias said. Some of these countries are worried about Turkey’s domestic problems, economy and population, whereas others are against Turkey’s membership because it is a Muslim country, said Christofias, but added that he did not agree with the second reason.
Christofias also said natural gas would begin flowing to the island within four years.
Turkey and Greece have special rights according to 1960 agreements, he said, noting that the gas would benefit everyone if an agreement were reached.
He also called on Greece and Turkey to recognize Cyprus as a sovereign state, to contribute to a solution and to leave the island alone.
Meanwhile, Northern Cyprus Foreign Minister Hüseyin Özgürgün said the Greek Cypriots intended to pursue the island’s indivisibility, not a permanent consensus.
Releasing a statement yesterday, Özgürgün said the Greek Cypriot administration had insisted on slandering the Turkish Cypriot side instead of trying to reach a consensus.