Sort out thorny issues or talks will lose pace: Kasoulides

Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides says that certain factors in the Cyprus negotiations could slow down the talks. There is a need to agree on the thornier issues on the agenda, otherwise momentum will be lost, he said.

“I sincerely hope that within 2016 we will be presented with the results of the current intensive efforts to which the two leaders are committed,” Kasoulides told ‘Cyprus Weekly’ in an interview

“There are certain issues that, if overcome, they will enhance the speed determining the negotiation’s pace. If they are not overcome then the pace of the negotiations will be much slower and of course this could erode the present momentum,” he added.

Several of the major sticking points for the Greek Cypriot side are the issues of property, population and guarantees.

The Greek Cypriot government, the article says, maintains that a reunited federal Cyprus will enjoy the guarantees provided by EU membership.

“The people of either community will, at the end, judge the whole picture of the outcome, weighing very carefully the advantages and disadvantages of the settlement”, Kasoulides said.

He noted that that any agreement must address the concerns and expectations of both sides and there should be no waging of “a campaign of fear and exaggeration of arguments from both sides of the coin”.

Kasoulides pointed out that the Security Council would need to endorse the settlement if approved by the Cypriots. In tandem with which, would be an undertaking to oversee the implementation of the agreement.

This was “..something that was missing when the people of Cyprus were called in 2004 to approve the (UN blueprint) Anan Plan”, he said.

The majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the plan, mainly because of security concerns.

The minister said that “People will have more confidence if this undertaking is put under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.”

Kasoulides would not speculate about what would happen if the referenda were voted down by either or both sides.

“Imagine if our government and the Greek Cypriot side were to appear as being the Doubting Thomas, presenting our arguments in a miserly and phobic way, as many in Cyprus are suggesting that we should be doing”, the minister concluded.

Cyprus Weekly

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