NICOSIA – Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said Cypriots, not politicians, will decide whether the island will be unified finally.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, having missed a May deadline to make a deal, now say they’re shooting for the end of the year even though Turkey says it won’t remove a standing army of some 35,000 soldiers from the northern one-third it has unlawfully occupied since invading in 1974.
Anastasiades and Akinci are talking again as the UN’s Special Envoy, Espen Barth Eide, regularly makes predictions a solution is at hand only to revise his predictions when there is no agreement.
Speaking in Athens during an event to mark Cyprus’ independence, Kasoulides said Anastasiades would not, as he repeatedly stated, put before the people a solution they wouldn’t likely accept, the Cyprus Mail reported.
“The status quo, cannot in any way, be a vision for the future our country and I am sure it was not the vision of those who gave their lives for our freedom,” he said.
“It is high time to put an end to the years of tension, insecurity and lead our country to a path of peace, security, stability and welfare. Time is a factor that unfortunately is working against us, and we need to rid ourselves of the occupation and Turkish troops and reunite our homeland”.
Kasoulides said negotiations were at a critical junction and said that if the upcoming meetings “yield the results we are anticipating, then we will be able to talk with more certainty about a positive outcome of this longstanding negotiating procedure”.
Similar continued rosy optimism has been repeatedly dashed only to see politicians keep saying the answer is at hand.
Even though the results of the negotiations allow for a cautious optimism, he said negotiations had not concluded.
Kasoulides said there was progress in some areas although critics said they were minor concessions and the big questions remain unresolved as they have been for more than four decades.
Kasoulides also said that security is the “most important element, in my opinion and will determine the successful conclusion of the negotiation. The issue concerns both communities that will be asked to live and prosper together in a modern, European state. Therefore the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Cyprus should not be determined by third parties”,
Any system of guarantees agreed, should fully respect the concerns of both communities, said Kasoulides.
Kasoulides also said that only Turkey wanted to maintain the system of guarantees and also questioned why the Turkish side appeared rushed when it came to holding a five-party conference with the guarantors, the newspaper reported.
“Based on all this, I cannot comprehend the zeal of the Turkish Cypriots to proceed unprepared to a multilateral conference,” he said, couching his own hopes.