World, Europe

Turkish Cypriots tell UN Greek Cypriot map unacceptable

"The map submitted by Greek Cypriots to UN is unacceptable," Turkish Cypriot President Akinci says

13.01.2017
Turkish Cypriots tell UN Greek Cypriot map unacceptable

By Fatih Erel

GENEVA

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci on Friday said the map submitted by Greek Cypriots to the UN was unacceptable and the Turkish Cypriots would not sign anything that would not include rotating presidency.

Speaking in the UN Office at Geneva after Thursday's Cyprus conference, Akinci told reporters that the Turkish Cypriots have been willing to see the continuation of security and guarantees provided by Turkey.

Turkish and Greek Cypriots exchanged maps on proposed territorial boundaries on Wednesday and the documents have been sealed in a UN vault.

"The map submitted by the Greek Cypriots to UN is unacceptable," Akinci underlined.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday that Cyprus reunification talks would continue with technical discussions with a working group at the deputy level Jan.18, followed by ministers and then a prime ministerial level meeting.

"There is no consensus among sides on when to hold the next Cyprus conference at the ministerial level," Cavusoglu told reporters after an international conference on Cyprus in Geneva.

"We wanted the working group at the level of deputies to meet as soon as possible but the Greek side requested more time," Cavusoglu had said.

Akinci said "we do expect the technical discussions to last 2-3 days".

"For the first time in history the two sides in Cyprus, the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot leader, presented their preferred maps of the internal administrative border to each other. That has never ever happened before and it was quite an important momentum, both in itself but also it was seen by both sides as a sign that this thing is moving towards the end game," Espen Barth Eide, UN Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Cyprus said on Friday after Thursday's Cyprus conference.

According to Eide, although no major breakthrough has been announced at the Cyprus conference attended by Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci along with foreign ministers of three guarantor states Turkey, Greece and the UK, the talks gave ground to optimism.

"The two leaders have been talking over the last 20 months and three days in Geneva before the start of the Cyprus conference. The conference will continue on Jan. 18 to discuss more specifically the issue of security and guarantees at a higher political level," he said.

"There are difficult issues to overcome but there is a will to overcome them," Eide said.

The topic of rotating presidency has been discussed in the Cyprus conference in Geneva, Eide said.

Speaking to journalists, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said they were struggling “for a just solution to the Cyprus problem.”

“We want a fair solution, not a rotten one,” he said.

He claimed the negotiating parties agreed with the UN that the negotiation process would be ‘open ended’, which means that it would stay open and would not stop if it was interrupted.

“On this basis, we agreed [for the negotiation] to continue in the form of talks between experts and more specifically, from our side, with a delegation led by the General Secretary of the Greek Foreign Ministry. The negotiation will begin again next week, and when the conditions mature, it will take the form of inter-ministerial [negotiation] with the participation of other representatives,” Kotzias said.

The Conference on Cyprus convened Thursday under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with the participation of the leaders of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers and in the presence of the European Union as an observer.

“This is the first time that brought all together to discuss the chapter of security and guarantees, the sixth and last chapter of the negotiations," the UN said on Thursday in a statement following the conference.

"You cannot expect a miracle for immediate solution. We are not looking for a quick fix," UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters after the conference’s morning session.

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias attended the conference, along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The high-level meetings follow comments from the UN’s envoy on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, who described the preceding three days of talks by the two Cypriot sides as “on track”.

Reunification talks resumed last May and both sides have repeatedly expressed optimism a solution could be found.

Once a final agreement is reached, it would be put to both Cypriot communities in a referendum.

Akinci has said a reunification vote could be held in mid-2017 pending agreement in Geneva.

* Idyli Tsakiri contributed to this report from Athens

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