Following the four and an half hour long Presidents’ meeting held today in UN buffer zone, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı gave a press statement outside the presidential palace.
Akıncı noted that a number of Confidence Building Measures were discussed and agreed upon during today’s meeting and added: “While we are moving forward with CBMs we should never forget that our main focus is always the comprehensive settlement.
Whatever we do in the meantime will serve for the final result and that is the comprehensive and permanent solution”.
Speaking about the new developments Akıncı said that both leaders have agreed to speed up the process by meeting at least twice a month for the talks and in addition to formal meetings, the leaders will also come together for social gatherings.
Akıncı said that the two negotiators, Özdil Nami and Andreas Mavroyiannis will meet more frequently. “No one wishes to waste any time. Preferably if we find a way out of the Cyprus problem by the end of this year, all parties will be pleased. We don’t aim to press for a timetable, however the negotiations have been ongoing for 47 years and no one can tolerate the talks going on any longer”, said Akıncı.
Touching upon today’s announcement regarding the change in regulation at the border check points Akıncı said, “Mr Anastasiades handed over the maps of 28 minefields and we announced the change of regulation at the check-points. No one will need to fill up visa forms from now on. There are many people from the Greek Cypriot side who were not crossing because of that reason. Therefore, one barrier is overcome. I spoke to the police this morning and requested them to make an arrangement in a way that people crossing with their cars would not need to step out of their cars. Hopefully as of tomorrow that will also change”
President Akıncı also announced that the two leader have agreed to establish a “joint committee on culture”. Underlining how much he values this idea, Akıncı said “One of the most important tools for reconciliation is culture and arts. Arts and culture know no boundaries”.