Kasoulides: "Turkey will be to blame if security talks fail"
Cyprus Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides stated on Sunday: “Turkey will be solely to blame if negotiations fail to reach a mutually acceptable security model.”
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci resumed their Mont Pelerin-based Cyprus Problem talks earlier on Sunday, following a week-long recess.
Anastasiades and Akinci have been discussing the territorial issue and other outstanding issues interdependently.
“If talks in Mont Pelerin [Switzerland] succeed, the two sides will be approaching the final stage for concluding settlement talks,” outlined Kasoulides.
Speaking during a memorial service, in Nicosia, for late President Glafcos Clerides, Kasoulides outlined that Anastasiades is “fully committed to reaching a settlement,” and urged all to support his efforts, reported CNA English.
"Solving the Cyprus Problem will be the best memorial service we can perform for Glafcos Clerides," noted the Foreign Minister.
“Continued [Turkish] occupation will only lead to the submission of Turkish Cypriots to Turkey, while the island’s reunification will help towards peaceful coexistence and cooperation,” added Kasoulides.
“NO EASY TASK”
The Minister added that this was “no easy task”, but underlined the “opportunity that exists today through Cypriot-owned negotiations, without foreign interventions.”
Kasoulides added: “There is optimistic convergence in both sides’ positions with regards to the chapter of property and the return of refugees.
“In case they manage to conclude a mutual understanding in those issues, they will be able to continue talks on security.”
On the latter, the FM underlined that "our goal is the residents of the whole island to feel equally safe," while also having reiterated that “anachronistic military or intervention rights by a third country are not acceptable.”
Kasoulides added that “Turkey constantly says it supports settlement efforts in Cyprus,” after which he called on Ankara to prove this in the discussions on security.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and illegally occupied its northern third.
Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.
If a final agreement is reached it will be put to both communities in a referendum. A 2004 peace deal, the ‘Annan Plan’, was approved by Turkish Cypriots but overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots.