Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci has said that a good start has been made in the negotiations with President Anastasiades with the aim of finding a solution to the Cyprus problem, but they have a long process ahead of them.
In statements made on Thursday at his office, after returning from the meeting with President Anastasiades in the buffer zone, Akinci noted that during the meetings between the two negotiators, progress has been achieved on some issues. He said that the federal structure and power sharing are included in these issues, but he will make an announcement on those at a future date.
Hoping that the negotiations continue in the same positive manner, Akinci added: “Our biggest wish is for the end to be good. Therefore, there is progress, we are not at the point we were yesterday, but there is still a distance to be covered”.
Akinci said that during their meeting yesterday, they determined the dates of meetings, which will be held in June and July, and took new steps with a constructive way.
Pointing out that for the first time, the two leaders had made a common call on the issue of the missing persons. They asked that anyone who knows anything about this issue, not to keep it secret, Akinci noted that the names of persons who are willing to give information will not be disclosed and both leaders made a strong call on this issue. Akinci underlined that the issue of the missing persons is a “human crime” and as time goes by the chances of finding these persons decrease.
Referring to the opening of crossing points, Akinci said that on Thursday they announced the opening two border crossing points at Lefke and Deryneia and added that in the future, the opening of more crossing points might come on the agenda, something for which further examination is needed by committee.
Noting that they also made a decision to link up the electricity grids, Akinci argued that this would ease the pressure on the electricity grids on both sides. Consumers on both sides would be the main beneficiaries of an improved service. Pointing out that technicians from both sides will discuss technical issues, Akinci said that this will stabilise production, transfer and distribution of electricity and will increase the quality of the network.
He expressed the belief that with the new practice, the power plants will operate in a more efficient and economical way, and the decrease of production costs will come onto the agenda. He said that even if any of the power plants stops operating, there will be no power cuts.
Referring to the issue of the unification of the mobile phones network, Akinci said that political will exists on both sides on this matter. However he noted that this issue had not been settled yet. He added that the committees had been assigned the task of establishing how this will be done.
Pointing out that a problem also exists on the issue of radio frequencies, Akinci said that they decided to ask the committees to carry out technical investigations to see how to avoid interference between frequencies.
Drawing attention to the fact that half of both communities consist of women, Akinci noted that in order for women to play an active role in the solution, they decided to establish a committee on gender equality.
Furthermore, Akinci announced the names of the members of the Cultural Committee, the establishment of which had been decided in the previous meeting between the leaders. He noted that these members will meet with their Greek Cypriot counterparts at the first opportunity.
Replying to questions, Akinci said that emphasis in the negotiations was given to chapters which had been under discussion in the previous [Eroglu] period; mainly on governance and federal structure. He noted, however, that they were not limited to these and added that other elements had also been discussed.