Territorial issues cannot be left aside: Kasoulides

Substantive talks in the Cyprus negotiations begin on 6th May heralding the beginning of serious efforts in the reunion process, Greek Cypriot Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said.

Firstly, he said, “we are entering the second phase of talks and I think that the President of the Republic will let UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman know what we wish for and will then travel to Berlin where he will hold a very important meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” he added, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

“These developments, I believe, will signal a serious effort which logically follows after the joint declaration of February 11,” between President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot Dervis Eroglu, he said.

Stage one of the talks was a screening process to establish each side’s position in the negotiations and no particular developments were expected in that phase, he said. Starting from 6th May onwards however, progress could be made depending on the obstacles which lie ahead.

Responding to a question about what will be discussed, Kasoulides said that as far as he was aware, talks would start with the property issue and executive powers. He added that it would be up to the negotiators to decide exactly what would be discussed and it would be for them to allot a time frame to those specific subjects.

Asked to comment on President Eroglu’s statement that discussions of territorial issues should come last, Kasoulides said that it was written in the joint statement that all the main issues of the problem are interconnected and should be discussed accordingly.

“We are not prepared to discuss only half of the problem,” he pointed out.

Asked whether Jeffrey Feltman would be having a special role in the Cyprus negotiations, Kasoulides said that he will be in Cyprus to be briefed on the Cyprus problem which lies within his area responsibilities.

Kasoulides added that a person who was several steps in rank below that of the UN Secretary-General did not need to hold any special role in the talks in order to take an interest in the work of the UN SG’s Good Offices mission.

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