NEWS

Nicosia: Akinci remarks ‘unhelpful’

TAGS: Cyprus, Diplomacy

Cyprus has described as “unhelpful” recent comments by Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who insisted it will be impossible to find a settlement to the island’s problem if it does not include a rotating presidency between the two states that would comprise a Cypriot federal state.

Nicosia said in response that public statements setting preconditions do not help the ongoing negotiation process ahead of crucial talks in Geneva in January.

“[The statements] not only do not find us in agreement, but we believe they do not help the efforts for a solution that will have to be approved by all Cypriots – Greeks and Turks,” the government said in a written statement.

The rotating presidency issue is among the few obstacles standing in the way of a settlement, along with those concerning territorial adjustments and the system of guarantees.

Akinci, who made his comments in an interview on the Al Jazeera network on Monday, also said a 15-year transition period would be needed to evaluate post-settlement security arrangements and for Turkish Cypriots to see the island’s “natural gas transported through Turkey to Europe.”

Greek Cypriots have insisted that the “anachronistic” system of guarantees must be scrapped as part of the island’s reunification under a federal umbrella as the island is a sovereign member of international organizations and the European Union.

But Akinci appeared set in his ways, saying there will never be a solution if the Greek Cypriots continue to demand “no armies and no guarantees.”

After the collapse of reunification talks last November, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Akinci agreed to resume talks and to attend a multilateral summit in Geneva in a bid to seal a deal.

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