Akinci Meets US Asst. Secretary of State Mitchell

US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell who was in Cyprus for contacts was received by President Mustafa Akıncı on Friday.

Mitchell also met with the Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.

The issue of natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean was discussed at both meetings.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting which lasted more than an hour, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs said that he had held positive meetings with both leaders.

Mitchell said that his country supported the the resumption of the Cyprus negotiations process and that they would be having more contacts on this issue in the coming days.

Also speaking to the press, President Mustafa Akıncı said that he had held a comprehensive meeting with the US Assistant Secretary of State during which the US official, Mitchell heard with due attention the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side.

President Akıncı said that it was unfair that only the Greek Cypriot side possesses the joint state and acts like the sole owner of the island and of its natural wealth.

The current situation, he said, threatens peace at sea, but it is possible for bridges of cooperation to be built between the island’s two communities and also Turkey and Greece.

Instead of causing tensions, he said, it would be beneficial to create cooperation opportunities.

“It is a shame because the Greek Cypriot side sees even the seas as its own, its own area of sovereignty, and they do not even want to discuss this issue with the Turkish Cypriots,” Akıncı said.

He added that this behavior is wrong and, only causes tensions. That is why, he said, it is very important for the Greek Cypriot side to change its mentality.

Akıncı also said that the most practical and cheapest way to transfer Cyprus’ and Israel’s natural gas to Europe, was through Turkey, as the pipeline through southern Cyprus to Crete, Greece and Italy is much more expensive, time consuming and passes through deep waters.

He also said that water from Turkey could serve the needs of the entire island and that the electric cable from Turkey could unify Cyprus with the Middle East and Turkey with Europe.

All this however, he said, requires peace, a solution and cooperation.

Also touching upon accusations directed at him lately Akıncı said that he is being blamed lately by the Greek Cypriot side for being unwilling to meet with the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades at an informal dinner, but added that unless there is a change in the stance of the Greek Cypriots, his side does not wish to enter a process doomed to end before it even begins.


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