March 21, 2023

The statement of President Ersin Tatar on his cooperation proposals presented to the UN to be delivered to Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades on curbing irregular migration and clearing the island of Cyprus from land mines.

As the Turkish Cypriot Side, we today presented to the UN to be handed to the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, our second set of comprehensive cooperation proposals.
In addition to the proposals covering four important areas dated 1 July 2022, in consultation with our relevant institutions, we are today presenting our comprehensive proposals on “De-mining the Island of Cyprus” and “Curbing Irregular Migration”. 
The Turkish Cypriot Side, in consideration of the fact that there are 29 remaining suspected hazardous areas, had put forward comprehensive proposals to the Greek Cypriot Side in 2014, in 2015 and in 2018, for the demining of the Island of Cyprus.  This was met with a negative response by the Greek Cypriot Side. 
This cooperation proposal I am putting on the table today (8th July 2022) has been prepared following the intense efforts of our relevant institutions and aims at demining the whole island, starting from the Buffer Zone.   There are three land mine areas that are within the jurisdiction of the Greek Cypriot Side and one minefield area under our jurisdiction adjacent to the Buffer Zone. 
With this objective in mind, I have suggested the formation of a mechanism that will be facilitated by UNFICYP, with the participation of an equal number of authorised personnel from both Sides. I have proposed that the de-mining work is carried out both proportionally and simultaneously on both Sides.  
I have asked the UN Secretary-General to urge the Greek Cypriot Side to cease its resistance to cooperation on this very important issue, which poses a threat and is a hazard to both the Turkish Cypriot People and the Greek Cypriot People.  This is a legacy that we owe to our future generations.
I have today proposed a second area of cooperation on the issue of curbing irregular migration. This matter is not only a global phenomenon but also a humanitarian tragedy, to which neither the Turkish Cypriot Side nor the Greek Cypriot Side is immune. This issue is negatively affecting both Sides in Cyprus.
I have proposed the setting up of a joint committee, which will be facilitated by the United Nations, to be composed of officials from the relevant Departments from each Side, including the Departments of Police, Immigration Departments of the Ministries of Interior and the Offices of the Attorney Generals, as well as other relevant institutions.  This proposal also includes cooperation in fighting human trafficking, as well as cooperation on strengthening security and surveillance along the buffer zone and increasing patrolling by the coast guards of the two Sides. 
I especially underlined the need to jointly strive to curb irregular migration in a way which does not prejudice the rights of refugees as enshrined in international conventions. I stated that the cooperation mechanism should act in line with the UN Convention of 28 July 1951 on the Status of Refugees. 
As we have clearly stated in our previous proposals, we are putting forward areas of cooperation that are based on the win-win principle on matters related closely to both Sides and which provide concrete benefits to both Peoples.  I have today once again demonstrated through my second set of cooperation proposals the sincere readiness of the Turkish Cypriot Side to cooperate with the Greek Cypriot Side.
I expressed my hope that the Greek Cypriot leadership adopts a positive approach concerning these proposals, which will also contribute to the creation of an environment conducive for a political settlement. 
I have now put forward cooperation proposals on six important areas which will not only be of concrete benefit to both Sides, but will also contribute to stability in our region.  We are sincerely ready to cooperate in these important areas if the Greek Cypriot Side is also ready.

Source: Presidency Of The Turkish Republic Of Northern Cyprus

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