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Özersay:  “Negotiations have now turned into a vicious circle”

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kudret Özersay stated that from now on negotiations have turned into a vicious circle.

Özersay delivered a speech at a conference entitled “An Alternative Way on the Cyprus Issue” organized by Geneva University of Diplomacy and International Relations.

In his opening speech, University President Colum Murphy reacted to the protests of some Greek Cypriots in Geneva and stated that the Cyprus problem cannot be solved without discussion.

Stating that he had experience for 15 years as a negotiator for the Cyprus talks, Özersay said: “I have worked with three TRNC Presidents and four Greek Cypriot Presidents. The negotiations have now turned into a vicious circle. Other alternatives need to be tried to solve the problem.”

Mentioning that the process collapsed following the failure of the Cyprus negotiations in 2017 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Özersay pointed out that the lack of common vision among the parties constitutes the greatest problem.

Özersay underlined that the “federal partnership” model, which has been on the agenda in Cyprus for the last 50 years, cannot be achieved without the sharing of “authority and prosperity” by the main actors.

Reminding that the former United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Kofi Annan Plan was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side in 2004, Özersay said Annan had mentioned in his report that the Greek Cypriot authorities did not want to share the powers and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriots.

Emphasizing that the Greek Cypriots act as the sole owner of the hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, Özersay said that the Greek Cypriot Administration is not in favour of a solution because they have an advantage with the current status quo.

Özersay stressed that the federal partnership model which has been the basis of the endless Cyprus negotiations that started in 1968 and has continued for 50 years, is now worn out.

Stating that the fact that the hydrocarbon resources “jointly belong” to the societies on both sides of the island is accepted by everyone, Özersay said: “We have to find an alternative way of cooperation in this field. If we can achieve this, there will be an interdependence between the relevant actors both in the region and in Cyprus.

Following his speech, upon a question of a foreign diplomat regarding mine clearance in the Cyprus buffer zone Özersay answered the question and said: “As the TRNC, we have proposed to clear all the mines on the island together. This proposal was not accepted by the Greek Cypriot Administration, but at least two leaders agreed to clear the mines in some places and the process started. Also, there are some uncertainties regarding the buffer zone. The leaders are not sure if there are mines in some places in this region. “We are ready to clear all the mines on the island, as we have already previously declared.”

Upon another question regarding the resumption of Cyprus talks, Özersay replied “If international actors call on the interested parties to resume the Cyprus talks and resume negotiations, I can guarantee that this will not happen.”