Davutoglu says “no” to Maras deal

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has turned down a proposal from the Greek Cypriot administration regarding the closed city of Varosha (Maras), which was conveyed to him by the U.N. special envoy to Cyprus, Alexander Downer.

Varosha was not on the Turkish agenda and it could only be a part of the ultimate solution of the Cyprus problem, Davutoglu said at a meeting with Downer yesterday, a Turkish diplomat said.

The proposal, put forward by the Greek Cypriot President Anastasiades, has been raised several times before and involves the Turkish Cypriots handing back Famagusta’s Varosha suburb to Greek Cypriots in exchange for some Greek Cypriot confidence building offers to Turkish Cypriots.

Talks aiming to resolve the Cyprus issue are expected to commence in October, Downer told Davutoglu.

The UN envoy also voiced hope that the talks would end in a couple of months, which Ankara also welcomed, according to the Turkish diplomat.

“Neither the U.N., nor us want the talks be open-ended,” said the diplomat, “But bringing a deadline to the negotiations is not on the table, since the Greek side rejects such a timetable.”

Peace talks have been stalled since last year prior to the elections in Greek Cyprus.

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