Turkish Cypriot leader looking for tripartite, five-party meeting by end of year
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı is eyeing tripartite meeting with the UN Secretary-General in addition to a five-party conference with the guarantor powers by the end of the year, Greek newspaper Kathimerini reported on Sunday.
Speaking on the obstacles to reaching an agreement to the terms of reference that would see the talks resume, Akıncı said UN chief Antonio Guterres wanted the terms agreed prior to his next report to the UN Security Council in November.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974 into predominantly Greek Cypriot south, whose government is internationally recognised, and the Turkish Cypriot north, whose sovereignty is only recognised by Ankara. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to produce results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, ended inconclusively.
Week-long meetings with Guterres’ envoy Jane Holl Lute last month on a deal on the terms of talks failed after the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) urged for the issue of political equality for the Turkish Cypriots be a prerequisite to any negotiations.
“We must give up creating impressions and playing games and explain to our communities the realities,” Akıncı said, referring Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades’ refusal on August 9, to accept the previously agreed to June 2017 document laying down the framework for talks.
“We have an urgent procedure ahead of us that should be focused on the outcome,” the Turkish Cypriot leader said.
Akıncı also spoke to the recent crisis in the east Mediterranean due to Turkish activities in the region.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots would not remain shackled in the face of work carried out by foreign companies, Akıncı said, adding however, that it would be good if progress could be made on this issue before a solution.
An announcement by Turkey on Thursday that it had sent an oil-and-gas drilling ship to waters off southern Cyprus where Greek Cypriot authorities have already awarded hydrocarbon exploration rights to Italian and French companies sparked fury with Nicosia.
TRNC has proposed joint management of hydrocarbons pre-solution but the Greek Cypriot side has rejected this.
Ankara maintains some of the areas where Cyprus is exploring are on its own continental shelf and Turkish Cypriots have equal rights over any finds with Greek Cypriots in certain zones.