Akinci Wants Unity Talks Speed-Up

Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said talks to reunify Cyprus since a 1974 Turkish invasion have to be accelerated or risk failing.

Akinci last year said he wanted a solution by May this year but that is slipping away as he is talking less with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades after the two started off well.

Akinci made the remarks after a four-hour meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis in the UN-administered buffer zone, hosted by Espen Barth Eide, the special UN Cyprus envoy, World Bulletin reported.

In a press statement afterwards, Akinci described the meeting as “productive,” generally seen as diplomatic code for virtually no progress politely explained otherwise.

“The details of the negotiations should be declared jointly when the two parties are ready for these declarations,” he said in another sign the talks aren’t going well.

Akinci denied Greek media reports Turkish Cypriots were intransigent. “This is quite out of the question. We have always defended the opinions we have put forth. We seek progress and solutions, so we can never backtrack on our declarations, either verbal or written,” he said.

The negotiations will proceed intensely, stressed Akinci, stating that the next high-profile meeting is set for May 6. Anastasiades earlier said he didn’t think there would be a resolution until the end of the year or that talks might drag on until next year, the 43d since the Turkish invasion and as Turkey still keeps a standing army in the northern third it unlawfully occupies.