EU Parliament Chief Urges Cyprus Talks

With Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades becoming the latest in a long line of officials who’ve failed to make any headway on stalled talks to reunify the island divided since the 1974 unlawful Turkish invasion, the President of the European Parliament urged both sides to find some way to get them going again.

President Martin Schulz told the Cyprus News Agency that, “The negotiations should start immediately because a solution has to be found.” He added: “Both sides can`t turn their back to this occasion and have to take a clear and constructive stand”, he adds.

Hoping to find some new way to prompt the negotiations, he called on the Cypriots and Turks “to keep an open mind and not use the past as a limit.”

“Every measure, even one that appears narrow and limited, is a step that can help to build confidence between the two sides,” he said, adding that “patience and determination are the keys,” although there’s been virtually no progress for years despite patience and determination.

“The status quo, although appealing, is not sustainable especially in the economic crisis context,” he pointed out.

Asked what role the EU could play since Cyprus is a member but Turkey is not, he said that, “We know that the solution will come from the two communities, but we cannot deny that we are at a critical junction, with huge tensions.”

He added that, “The two parties should make sure to keep a long-term vision, and the European Union can help them to do so,” although he didn’t explain how.

With Turkey hoping to become an EU member he said that could provide some leverage to unblock the long deadlock. “The current context between EU and Turkey creates a positive momentum for negotiation,” he said.

In the past, he said that, “The Cyprus issue has been used as a stumbling block in the negotiations with Turkey,” but said despite that he believed “treating the two issues separately can be beneficial to the finding solutions in the two areas”.

The UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on the Cyprus issue Alexander Downer is planning to visit the island on Dec. 8, UNFICYP spokesman Michel Bonnardeaux said. “Meetings are still in a planning stage,” he added.