Varosha can only be reopened when there has been a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, TRNC Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami has re-iterated.
“It’s incorrect to tie confidence-building measures to Varosha,” Nami (above L with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu), said yesterday at a meeting with the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association in Ankara.
He said that the Turkish Cypriots’ position on Varosha/Maras had been affirmed when EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule visited the island.
Nami says that Varosha falls into the category of territorial allotment and that talks on that subject would drag on for months as Turkish Cypriots are not happy with the current offer made by the Greek Cypriots and want more. He also said that there is a concern that the Varosha issue would sidetrack the negotiations. “And then we’ll find ourselves discussing this issue instead of a comprehensive settlement,” he said, stressing that it would be better if confidence-building measures were projects that would directly affect both communities in a positive way.
Greek Cypriots have, for a long time, been demanding the return of Varosha in return for direct trade for Turkish Cypriots, with Famagusta port under EU administration.
The subject had come up at a recent meeting in Cyprus between Stefan Fule and Turkish Cypriot officials, where the EU commissioner asked for the Turkish Cypriot side’s opinion about the proposal, a Turkish Cypriot official said.
Nami said that they had urged the commission to “take braver steps” in order to lift the isolation of Turkish Cyprus.
He also said that he was disappointed with the slow pace of the talks and the refusal of the Greek Cypriots to hold more frequent presidents’ meetings.
Nami added that the Greek Cypriots were avoiding discussion of “rapprochement papers” which were produced during former talks. However, he did not want to give any details about any plan B, should the negotiations be unsuccessful.
“Our sole aim at the moment is to establish a federal structure established with a Turkish Cypriot founding state and a Greek Cypriot founding state on the basis of equality,” he concluded.