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TRNC News Today 8th April 2015 – FM Nami: Greek Cypriot Leader turned back from big mistake

TRNC News Today 8th April 2015

“The Greek Cypriot leader has turned back from a big mistake”

Foreign Minister Özdil Nami participated via telephone in BRT’s “Günün Özeti” (Daily Brief) program to assess the statements of Special Advisor Eide. Nami stated that the Greek Cypriot leader will have turned back from a big mistake by returning to the negotiation table without any preconditions.

Ozdil Nami

Indicating that there has not been any change in the approach of the Turkish Cypriot side, Foreign Minister Özdil Nami stated “It is understood that Anastasiades will return to the negotiation table without placing any preconditions. This is welcomed.  If only all these months had not been wasted.  Anastasiades has made Cyprus waste all this time for no good reason”.

Nami pointed out that the Greek Cypriot leader should never have left  the negotiation table and recalled that the Turkish Cypriot side has made repeated statements to the effect that the Greek Cypriot leader should return to the negotiation table without any preconditions.

Minister Nami expressed his hope that once the Greek Cypriot leader returns to the table, the negotiations will continue in the form of a result-oriented, speedy and structured process which respects formerly reached convergences.

Assessing the statement of Eide that “I had 24 predecessors. I believe I will be the last person in this position”, Nami expressed his hope in this regard and indicated that this is also the wish of the Turkish Cypriot side.

Nami added that the UN has also used similar expressions in the past.

Nami stated “We would like to see actual words on documents rather than statements to the press. A final goal should be placed on the table and we should progress in a disciplined manner. This issue cannot go on forever. I hope that the words of the UN spoken through microphones will be reflected on the negotiation table”.

Minister Nami emphasized the importance of the statement of the Greek Cypriot leader to the effect that he will return to the negotiation table without any preconditions and that the negotiations will therefore recommence.

Pointing to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side is prepared to continue intensified negotiations, Nami stated that the Cyprus issue has entered a critical stage and that the world wants the Cyprus issue to finally find an end.

Eide: “It is a question of how much a violation has actually happened in Cyprus EEZ”

In an interview with Greek Cypriot News Agency, UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide said the Cyprus problem needs to be solved at the earliest possible time.

He remarked that the “hydrocarbon crisis” Espen Barth Eideillustrates the deep disagreements that lie behind the whole understanding of what the Cyprus problem is.

Eide is on the island where on Tuesday he announced that UN-backed talks are expected to resume within weeks following the elections in the TRNC.

Invited to say why he considers this effort on the Cyprus talks a last opportunity, the Norwegian diplomat said “it may be the last opportunity”,  and he noted  “Of course, I am not saying that if we have some trouble in three months and a temporary suspension then that`s the end of the day. I am saying in the broad sense I think we have had a very serious crisis with the hydrocarbons, they illustrate some of these problems, in the absence of a solution, and I sincerely think that it is important now to grasp this moment and try because if there is a will, there is a way.

Eide said he thinks what has been lacking, is not that there was no will but “I don`t think there was sufficient will, I really trust Anastasiades that he actually wants this to happen.  Of course, he has a difficult political environment which we can all see and I also feel that there is a very strong urge now for a lot of people on the Turkish Cypriot side to get out of a very strange situation that they are now in”.

He said “the impatience of the international community on all sides is becoming more and more evident. That there is a feeling that this really cannot be allowed to go on any longer, we cannot have this unresolved, because it is fundamentally unresolved. It`s not like neutral. It`s an open issue that has not landed and there is in principle only two ways to land which is reunification or separation”.

Eide said he wants to “maintain the optimism that it can be solved and people should go for it and try to solve it. This is based on a lot of conversations with a lot of people in Cyprus and elsewhere”.

Cyprus hydrocarbon disputeTo a remark that he talks about a “hydrocarbons crisis”  but isn`t it a country`s right to explore its own EEZ,  Eide replied “yes, there are two dimensions to that”.

“There is the legal argument that is very strong on the Republic of Cyprus (Greek Cypriot side), which is that the Republic of Cyprus (Greek Cypriot side) is a country like every country and it can declare its economic zone. After all, nobody has exploited it by the way. It is a question of how much a violation has actually happened because many countries do not see seismic exploration as a violation as long as they don`t lead to exploitation. Because the Economic Zone is not sovereign territory, anybody can basically do anything there except for taking out the resources, but that`s a very technical issue”, he said.

Eide continued to say “then, there is also another dimension which is the argument from the Turkish Cypriot side that the hydrocarbons of Cyprus belongs to all Cypriots and one side of Cyprus cannot just venture into making all decisions that will have a kind of an eternal effect on everyone without consulting with the other side. So, there is a legal argument and a political argument and this actually illustrates the deep problem of the Cyprus problem. It`s essentially contested what is the Cyprus problem. Is it a hijack state, or part of the country is occupied? And we know that we will never get a full agreement on that, but you can get to a full agreement on how you reunify. So the hydrocarbon crisis is in essence an illustration of the deep disagreement that lies behind the whole understanding of what the Cyprus problem is”.

Asked if a gesture on the part of Turkey, for instance, the opening of ports/airports and other measures, to Cyprus that would be conducive in helping the process move forward, Eide remarked that “the other side in the negotiations is the Turkish Cypriot side, not Turkey. Of course, Turkey has an interest in this for obvious reasons but the negotiations are between the two communities on the island.”

To a remark by Greek News Agency that the problem is the actual division of the island which is maintained by Turkey, Eide said “again, this is part of the essential contest, that`s a dimension of it, another one, if you are a Turkish Cypriot is that back in the 60s a state that was supposed to be a state for Greeks and Turks was hijacked by one side and turned into more of a Hellenic state”.

Noting he did not want to go into that issue, Eide added “for a long time we have to live with different readings of why the Cyprus problem exists. It can be solved, and the leaders, in their joint declaration have actually said what they are aiming at – a bizonal, bicommunal federation, one single sovereignty to the outside world, two constituent states. This is what they agreed. What we have to do is to fill in the different components of that and that`s what the negotiations are all about”.

Regarding the introduction of confidence building measures, Eide said “they are good but my focus is not on that. My focus in the UN is the talks themselves on the substance, on the core issues, not fringe issues, because I know that if we solve all the core issues, then everything else will follow”.Cyprus Map divided

For instance, he continued, “a unified Cyprus will be recognized by Turkey, of course, and then the ensuing state will have the same access to ports in Turkey as every other state, the hydrocarbon issue is not any longer a conflict issue but a cooperation issue because both sides already agreed that it`s a federal capacity in a new state. So, a lot of these issues are issues because of the division and will actually evaporate once a solution is found. Because they are expressions of the division.”

Asked if the core issues will be first, he said the restart of the negotiations will include “core issues, property, territory, governance and power sharing”, adding that “it is very difficult”.

He explained that there will be a meeting to declare the resumption, with the leaders meeting to show they are back in business, Anastasiades and whoever is elected in the Turkish Cypriot elections, and from then on we are taking difficult issue by difficult issue and seeing how we move forward”.

To a question if there is a timeframe or deadline, Eide said “2015 is the border framework we are operating inside. I don`t want to say a particular date because the date will become a point in itself but the sooner the better. And this is also what the leaders say, they want to solve this and the sooner the better”.

Invited to give his vision of Cyprus in the future, the UN envoy said “it could be a stable, wealthy, interesting, positive place, an example for the world of overcoming past difficulties through peaceful negotiations. It will attract a lot of investments because a solution in Cyprus, it has an ideal location for people who want to be engaged in the Middle East but do not want to actually be based in the Middle East”.

He added, I hope it will eventually, “be able to capitalize on its natural resources and so on, and have an economy that is not driven by political decisions but by rational economic choice, and I think that`s a great future but you can only find it by working with other Cypriots. You cannot find it against the other Cypriots because that would only lead to either a continued non-solution or a final partition”, he concluded.

Note:  For an evaluation of the comments made by Espen Barth Eide please read the article by Dr Christian Heinze click here

Eide: “Anastasiades is returning to the table. Negotiations will resume after elections”

Following his meeting with leaders, UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide stated that Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades will return to the table.

Nikos AnastasiadisEide said that during his meetings, both leaders expressed that there is not any obstacle anymore for resumption of negotiations, adding that the Cyprus problem is one of the easiest of 30 problems in various countries of the world which can be solved in a perfect way.

Following his meetings, UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide made a press statement at the UN Good Mission Office in the buffer zone. His speech is as follows:

“Good afternoon.

Many of you will remember that on the 17th of September last year, the two leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot community gathered here and declared to move into the next phase of talks – structured, substantial talks.

In the weeks just after that event, we had thorough and serious, and very constructive meetings on how this substantial phase of the talks should be organized. But you will also remember that a little less than a month later on the 7th of October 2014, the meeting that was planned then was cancelled. Mr. Anastasiades suspended his participation in the talks, and we moved into a phase which I will describe as the hydrocarbons crisis.

The hydrocarbons crisis has many roots, but the key issue is that at least it seemed at the time that Cyprus was moving very quickly into a hydrocarbons economy and that this was happening before the Cyprus issue itself was solved; and the paradox was that, while there was and is a substantive agreement on how hydrocarbons issues will be dealt with post-settlement, there was deep and divisive divisions around how these should be dealt with prior to a settlement. and this led to a sequence of events that lasted exactly half a year – it’s exactly on the day half a year since that meeting was cancelled.

A lot of things have changed. And a number of people have been working to see if it was possible to create the conditions or more precisely to remove the conditions that prevented the resumption of the talks.  I am very happy to share with you that my judgment is that this is now the case, that the state of reasons why talks could not happen are gone, at least for the foreseeable future, and that makes it possible to prepare for the resumption of talks in a structured, results oriented and fast manner. But even more importantly than what I think about this is that I have shared this perspective with both leaders today, with Mr. Anastasiades, representing the Greek Cypriot community and Mr. Dervis Eroglu, representing the Turkish Cypriot community, and they both agreed that the circumstances are now right.Eroglu and Anastasiades

Let me here quite precisely quote what I heard from Mr. Anastasiades today. Making reference to the fact that the seismic vessel Barbaros has already left Cypriot waters and the fact that the NAVTEX that expired at 12 o’ clock yesterday is not, and will not be renewed, and that there is no overhanging threat, he declared to me, he informed me, that he was ready to lift his suspension, or lift the suspension of his participation in the talks and that he looks forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with whoever emerges as the Turkish Cypriot leader after the elections in the North.

I also shared this of course with Mr. Eroglu and that means that I see no obstacle to a very early resumption of talks once the election process in the north of Cyprus is done.

It’s also very important that, both leaders agreed with me, when we meet again, we will pick up from where we left. This exact wording was used by both sides and I very much agree with that. We have done substantial preparations for the next round so while we did lose half a year, we also know where we will be starting.

The UN has been ready all the time, my team, working both here and also in New York, engaging the Secretary-General on many occasions on this, have been systematically preparing for the restart of talks by looking into our reading of where the two sides stand, and where possible bridges can be made between the starting positions of both sides.

I am also aware that the negotiating teams, both on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot side, are making their own preparations for this phase.

I want to very strongly appeal, not only to the leaders who I just met and had excellent conversations with today, but also to all Cypriots, that I strongly feel – I strongly feel – that 2015 is going to be a decisive year.

I very much hope it will be a decisive year in the right direction.

The conditions are in place. We also have behind us a crisis that illustrates the broader dimensions of the Cyprus problem and why it is maybe more important than ever before to work towards a settlement in line with the Joint Declaration and the principles already laid out, both there, and also in the statement that was presented here on 17 September, where the two leaders agreed to bridge the gaps to renegotiation on unresolved core issues, to increase the pace of their meetings, through that to increase the frequency of their meetings as appropriate, and all meetings at least twice as long as leaders, and then the negotiating teams would meet much more frequently, and work very seriously on all issues.

I want to call on all Cypriots to realize that this is a decisive moment, not only for political leaders, but also for everybody living on this island.

Having come to know a lot of people in the time I have been in this role, I feel that while some Cypriots believe that their problems are other Cypriots, I think that’s fundamentally wrong.

The problem Cypriots share is the absence of a settlement which is one of the reasons why a lot of young people leave the island, why investments that could have happened are not happening, why the benefits of economy of scale cannot be reached to their full potential, and why it has been very difficult to prepare for this hydrocarbons phase of Cyprus history.

So I think that this is really a time to think strategically and not tactically, and not only at the leaders’ level but across all elements of society, and understand that this is an opportunity that has to be grasped. It is a window of opportunity. We do not necessarily talk of deadlines, but the window may not be open forever. It’s not me saying that, but that’s my strong sense working with key interlocutors internationally and on the island that this country has to find a solution after 51 years. It is possible. We have difficult months ahead, but there is nothing – I repeat nothing – in all the chapters that I know now quite well which I deem as unresolvable.

Every single issue can be solved if there is will, if there is dedication, and if that will is sustained as we go through all the chapters and eventually bring in the international community in some kind of [inaudible] final stage.

So that’s the news I have to share with you today. I am sure one of the first questions will be when exactly we will start – I can see that from the show of hands. I don’t have a date. The main reasons we don’t have a date is that we do not know the outcomes of the election in the north, but as soon as we know we will of course reach out to whoever is the Turkish Cypriot leader, and quickly agree on the date, but I’m thinking of something within weeks – not months – from now and also from the date when elections start over.”

A “heroes monument” is being constructed in remembrance of pro-coups

A “heroes monument” is being constructed at the Konstantono and Eleni Cemetery in the Greek Cypriot side in remembrance of Archbishop Makariosparticipants of the coup against the first and only President of the Republic of Cyprus Makarios III and those who were killed during attacks on the Presidential Palace.

According to the Greek Cypriot newspaper Haravgi, AKEL drew attention to the fact that building a heroes monument for the ones killed during the coup to the presidential palace is an assault to the ones who died defending the Republic.

Recalling that the tender is at completion phase of the monument AKEL called Greek Cypriot administration and the Orthodox Church to explain why they expect construction of a monument like this and also called those who are participating in the construction of the monument to put an end to this initiative immediately.

AKEL warned: “otherwise they will be responsible for revitalization of the division among our people. If they don’t stop the construction, they will find AKEL against them and we will use every legal possibility to stop them.”

Award for “The Usual Essays” from one of the biggest film festivals Worldfest

“Random Attempts” a short film directed by Doğuş Özokutan Çiftcioğlu together with Vasvi Çiftcioğlu, has won an award from one of the oldest independent film festivals of the world “Worldfest-Houston”. The directors of the film are invited to the 48th “Worldfest-Houston” festival between 10-19 April at USA’s Texas state. Category of the award that the “Random Attempts” won will be announced at the award ceremony.

29% of Greek Cypriots are living on the verge of poverty

It is stated that 29% of Greek Cypriots are living on AKELthe verge of poverty.

Greek Cypriot Haravgi newspaper stated that, recently AKEL made a statement and emphasized the ratio corresponding approximately to 240,000 Greeks, and that this subject is quite pitiful and said that the government should do something about this.

In the news, it is recorded that AKEL criticized Anastasiades’ Government’s consent to austerity policies and causing poverty to spread.

TRNC Public Information Logo imageSource: TRNC Public Information Office –

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