Mustafa Akinci met with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister responsible for Cypriot Affairs, Tugrul Turkes on Tuesday.
Speaking after the meeting, Akinci said that they are planning a meeting abroad in November, to discuss the territory issue and added that “right afterwards we want to hold a five-party meeting where security and guarantees will be discussed”.
Akinci said that reaching a solution to the Cyprus problem by the end of the year has become a target for many sides including the UNSG’s Special Advisor for Cyprus and President Anastasiades. Asserting that a “natural timetable” for achieving a solution by the end of 2016 has evolved, Akinci reiterated that the reasons for this are the beginning of the campaign for the 2018 presidential elections in south Cyprus, a new UN Secretary-General, drilling works in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for natural gas in 2017, “on which the Turkish Cypriots have also natural rights”.
Referring to the natural gas resources in Cyprus’ EEZ, Akinci said: “Activities which will take place there without an agreement, are turning an issue on which cooperation should be made, into a field of potential tension”.
Furthermore, Akinci said that the Turkish Cypriot side continuously shows that it is ready for a solution in Cyprus and that a solution within 2016 is possible if both sides are ready for it. He argued that the details of the solution plan and the preparation of federal laws could be ironed out in 2017 and the referendum could be held mid-2017.
Underlining the importance of close consultation with Turkey and the TRNC during the negotiations, Akinci expressed the view that reason and realism should be demonstrated, in order to bring about a solution which benefits all sides. “This is what we expect from our interlocutors”, he said,
“Instead of demanding the impossible, if they behave within the scope of fair, realistic and reasonable measures, we will find a way out, because I say that we are asking for reasonable measures”.
Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot daily ‘Kibris’ reports that the intensified negotiations on the territory issue are expected to be held in Switzerland between 5th and 11th November. According to the paper, during his meeting with Turkes, Akinci expressed the hope “for us to be able to move onto a meeting of continuous form in the first week of November, just as we have been saying, but right after that, we want a five-party meeting to take place. Thus the final shape [of the solution] could be formed with security and guarantees, in an environment in which the guarantors will also be present”, he added.