Cyprus negotiations should be accelerated: Davutoglu

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a press conference after his meeting with TRNC President Dervis Eroglu during his one day visit to the North on Saturday, ‘Turkish Press’ reported.

He said that said that negotiations surrounding a permanent solution to the Cyprus problem should be accelerated and the leaders should meet more frequently as it is time to end the crisis that has lasted for more than half century.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the island, the foreign minister added, is an important and positive step as it followed that other members of the international community would also add momentum to the search for a solution.

Turkey’s foreign minister said that U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Cyprus next week sends an important message of American support for renewed talks aimed at unifying the island. He added that the vice-president’s three day trip to the island, the first visit by such a high ranking US statesman in 52 years, “isn’t an ordinary visit”.

Biden is expected to discuss, among other things, the fenced-off area of Famagusta, known as Varosha, for which the US is reportedly willing to fund a master plan study. The Greek Cypriot side wants it returned as a confidence-building measure (CBM), ‘Cyprus Mail’ reported.

But Davutoglu yesterday ruled this out under the current circumstances saying Varosha was always an issue to be decided as part of a comprehensive settlement. “Once you go along with individual solutions then at some stage you create a new status quo, which can prevent a comprehensive solution,” he said.

He added that CBMs must be equitable and balanced. If Varosha was to be discussed as a CBM, then something of equivalent or equal value would also have to be on the table. “Otherwise while increasing the confidence of one side you may reduce the confidence of the other,” he said.

Meanwhile, President Eroglu said “we want to solve the Cyprus issue by taking the necessary steps with Turkey.” He continued saying that if the Greek Cypriot side is ready to negotiate, then they are ready.

The government of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus has declared two days of national mourning due to the coal mining disaster in Turkey, Eroglu added.

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