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Cyprus talks to continue within days

‘No consensus among sides on when to hold the next Cyprus conference at ministerial level,’ Turkish FM Cavusoglu says

Fatih Erel   | 13.01.2017
Cyprus talks to continue within days

Geneve

By Fatih Erel

GENEVA

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 said.

"We do not want to have an open-ended process,” he said. "We clearly pointed out the position at the issues of security and guarantees. Our position fits with the position of Turkish Cypriot," Cavusoglu said.

"We believe that a solution on Cyprus issue will create new cooperation and trust in the East Mediterranean. It will be a win-win situation for everyone.

"There is a fact that Turkey's guarantor power is highly important for the Turkish Cypriots," he said.

"The presence of Turkish army in the island will be continued and it is a will of Turkish Cypriots," he said.

The Conference on Cyprus convened Thursday under the auspices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with the participation of the presidents of Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot, 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 in a statement following the conference.

"The participants recognized that this is the time to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. This is a historic opportunity that should not be missed. The participants therefore committed to supporting the process towards a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus. The common objectives outlined above will require concerted efforts by all concerned over the course of the next days," the UN said.

"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, U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias are attending 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”.

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

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.


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