A new approach to the Cyprus problem needed: says Kasoulides

Ioannis Kasoulides, the Foreign Minister for South Cyprus speaking in an interview with Turkish newspaper, ‘Milliyet’ said that his administration wanted to present a “different profile” in relation to the Cyprus problem.

He emphasised the importance of a fresh approach towards the negotiations. He added that the south will be making its intentions clear to Turkey and hoped that these would receive a response.

In reply to a question about when the talks will begin, Kasoulides said:

“The expectation is that the negotiations will be launched soon; however, I consider that the economic crisis will prolong the process. At this stage, the priority is the economy. We will proceed with the Cyprus problem as well. On this issue, we do not have a precondition; still, we have to wait for a while. It is obvious that the negotiations so far did not yield anything. Therefore, it is necessary to look at how the new negotiation process will develop.”

The negotiation talks should be carried out on different levels. They could be carried out on the level of the special representatives of the two communities. Turkey and Greece which are guarantor countries could also designate their special representatives.

There will not be any problem, since at the negotiation talks, there would not be the Cyprus Republic, but the communities. I believe that we are hiding behind an illusion towards the direction that everything is dependent on the two communities. But, we all know that this is not true. Why should we continue to behave as if everything depends on the two communities? And why should not all the sides involved be gathered?”

Kasoulides went on to say that he does not believe that the negotiation talks should be re-launched from scratch as regards the content; he however said, that there should be a new approach and method, adding that the old ways were wrong.

When asked why did he want the guarantor powers to be involved in the negotiations, he answered:

“Not all. The UK has nothing to say on the issue. However, I believe that Turkey’s participation in the process will be beneficial.”

In response to a question about EU involvement, he said that the EU could usefully contribute to the efforts of the UN; emphasising that the UN would continue to have authority over the proceedings.

In reference to the suggestion that Turkey is influenced by the fact that President Anastasiades voted ‘yes’ to the Annan Plan in 2004, Kasoulides replied that:

“Nobody denies his position during that period, still, neither Anastasiades, nor another politician can ignore the peoples’s decision and bypass it. Nevertheless, as I have said, there is goodwill.”

When asked what did he expect of Turkey prior to the new negotiations, he said:

“It is the duty of the two sides to change the atmosphere around which the negotiation talks are taking place. There is an exacerbation on the developments between Turkey and Cyprus. This is not beneficial, for Turkey or for Cyprus. Let’s make an effort to improve this environment. By leaving behind the known rhetoric, we should be more pragmatic and we should focus on the outcome.”

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