Panel of four chief editors quiz Akinci

With political courage and will, an agreement in Cyprus could be achieved by the end of 2016 and that the target is to find a solution by the end of this year, President Akinci has said.

Replying to questions put by the Editors in Chief of Kibris, Havadis, Yeni Duzen and Kibris Postasi, in a television programme broadcast by the public and private broadcasting companies, the president said that there have been studies conducted to find out what percentage of Greek Cypriots would like to return to the north. The studies made by a German expert showed that 23% wanted to return.

Akinci said, inter alia, the following: “The old rhetoric should be abandoned in the formula to be found. 100 thousand persons will come here, 60 thousand parsons will go there. The 160 thousand persons to whom reference is made are no longer alive. Therefore, these numbers are exaggerated. A survey carried out by a German expert had been published in the press the other day. We have embarked on the property issue having returns as part of an understanding, but only [the return] of 23% was in question”.

Asked if President Anastasiades has the political courage to present a solution to his people, Akinci replied that they should wait and see what developments arise within the coming months. “In the statements he has been making recently, I think that he is also preparing the community very gradually. There is a statement he issued on Facebook. There were very courageous sentiments. He felt able to say some things which had not been said in the past and which he had also not said before”, he argued, adding that they shall see by the end of these three months [by the end of the year] whether or not this stance will continue.

Akinci said that when the leaders return from New York they will continue the intensified negotiations in October and added that agreement has, to a great extent, been reached on four chapters. He went on to say that he believed that three months would be enough time to reach a conclusion to the talks.

Replying to a question about territory, Akinci said that territorial adjustments will take place “to a reasonable extent”, but that “this will not happen without guarantying that not one single citizen of ours will be unjustly treated”.

To clarify, Akinci said that it is important for everyone to know where he will go, when he will move and how he will earn his living. “It will be out of the question to take steps on these issues without creating the infrastructure”, he noted, adding that it is evident that international financing will be needed for the solution.

Replying to another question, Akinci said that he is carrying out the negotiations on the basis of the power given to him by the people and that the joint declaration of 11th February [2014] provided for the establishment of a federation. He noted that a federation is different from a confederation, as the former includes two founding states, but a single international identity and single sovereignty. He added: “However, this does not mean that the founding states have no powers. The powers of the founding states are considerable. All the residual powers except those included in the constitution as federal powers, will belong to the founding states, as for example health and education. Foreign policy will be a federal decision with the participation of the founding states. What is included in a state which we perceive as a whole? There will be one budget, one financial policy. There will be one foreign policy. If an army exists, it is for the whole island. There will be one citizenship.”


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