President Mustafa Akinci received the Acting Director General, Defence and Intelligence at the British Foreign Office Jonathan Allen at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia on Thursday morning.
Turkish Cypriot Negotiator Ozdil Nami and members of the negotiating team were also present at the meeting where Mr. Allen was accompanied by the British High Commissioner to Cyprus Matthew Kidd and some diplomats.
After the meeting, President Akinci told the press of the need to implement the positive steps taken during the last two years and said that decisions had been made but there was a need for these to be put into practice in order to bolster confidence on the island.
Commenting on the recent remarks made by the Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, the President said “I would like to underline this: What Kasoulides said was right. Support by AKEL’s General Secretary Kyprianou has also paved the way for a new initiative. Therefore, we will come together at a social event. As was reflected in the press, new steps will follow as of the 7th of April. The Greek Cypriots’ mistake will be corrected and consequently a new period in which the negotiations will resume, will start.”
“This new period is not a new episode. Elections will be held in South Cyprus in February 2018. It seems like the excitement of the election has already spread over South Cyprus. The candidates have started to come to light. As I said earlier, April and May should be the months for decision making. What needs to be done on this issue should be completed,” he added.
Commenting on the social dinner to be held between the two leaders on Sunday evening, the President said “there are some misunderstandings regarding the dinner”. There have been some misconceptions that only confidence building measures will be addressed, he said.
“These are not right. Of course, the lack of confidence between the two peoples does not make us happy. At least, realising the decisions we had taken with consensus two years ago will be beneficial for both sides. It is saddening and thought-provoking that these could not be realised.” the President said.
Reminding that a decision was taken on 28th May, 2015 to link mobile telephony across the island and that all technical problems had been solved to this effect, Akinci noted that this could not be implemented because of a law in South Cyprus.
“The other decision we had taken was to permanently interconnect the electricity between the two sides. It was connected temporarily. They take electricity from us and we do the same when needed. Temporary connections were made, the system was tested and we saw that it was working well. According to the Greek Cypriot side there is a need for one last control. OK let’s do it. They said they needed funding and then said they had found it. However, the connection has yet to take place,” he said.
Giving the Greek Cypriot sides stance regarding the implementation of the decisions taken by the Education Committee and the Crisis Committee as an example, President Akinci said “when fires break out in the North of the island the Greek Cypriots want their fire engines to cross over without covering their emblems but they don’t show the same flexibility about our fire engines when they are going to cross over to the South and assist with fire outbreaks. If their recognition phobia is not overcome, progress cannot be achieved”.