Akinci Met with Elizabeth Spehar

Pesident Mustafa Akinci in a statement after meeting separately with Prime Minister Ersin Tatar and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar on Thursday, gave an overview regrding the progress of a series of Confidence Building Measures (CBM) agreed by the two Cypriot community leaders during an informal meeting in February.

Akinci said that the CBM to link the two sides’ mobile telephony networks through an outside hub was expected to be implemented by the end of June.

Telsim Vodafone and Kuzey Kibris Turkcell which have signed an agreement with a Swiss hub are continuing discussions regarding prices, which Akinci said must be appropriate if the measure is to have a positive effect.

Once consultations are completed, Akinci said, a test run will first take place before mobile phones can work normally on both sides.

Regarding the interconnectivity of the two electricity grids, President Akinci referred to an example whereby the Greek Cypriot side was recently in need of 15MW of power which was transferred from the North.

The president added that efforts regarding the clearance of landmines are continuing.

The CBM whereby a host of religious icons and other artefacts stored in Kyrenia Castle would be swapped with visual and audio recordings of Turkish Cypriot artists stored by the Greek Cypriot state broadcaster CyBC is also moving along, Akinci said, noting that the recordings were currently being digitized abroad, a process which would take time.

During the meeting with Spehar, Akinci said that he also discussed whether new CBMs can be brought about. He added, however, that the biggest CBM, in his opinion, would be a bi-communal committee on natural gas.

I took the opportunity to inform Spehar once again regarding the importance of a CBM for natural gas, for the creation of a committee,” Akinci said, noting that he has also suggested this to Anastasiades who he said did not respond positively.

“If today there are tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, a basic reason is that the Greek Cypriot side does not want to discuss the matter with us,” Akinci.


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