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Joint Military Force OK’d for Cyprus

NICOSIA – Ongoing negotiations to reunify Cyprus reportedly will include a joint Cypriot-Turkish military force even though Turkey keeps an army in the area it unlawfully occupies.

That’s what Greek Cypriot Defense Minister Christoforos Fokaides was said to have told the Phileleftheros newspaper although it wasn’t explained how it would work.

According to the daily’s interview with Fokaides, the sides had agreed to form a professional armed forces in which current active duty officers will continue their jobs and compulsory military service will be abolished on the island.

He also said Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have agreed on the join military even though the two sides are military enemies.

The talks have been lagging since Akinci took office a year ago with the promise to move them along but after saying they wouldn’t be done until next year he now said it could see a solution this year to the dilemma that began when Turkey unlawfully invaded in 1974 and has refused to leave.

“It may be seen as an ambitious date to talk about 2016, but if we continue with this determination after the elections in Greek Cyprus, we can have a breakthrough, we can conclude an agreement on the main principles,” Ak?nc? said in Berlin, the Daily Sabah said.

He was speaking at a panel discussion at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation following talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

There will be elections in Cyprus in May and Akinci said he hoped once that was over that the talks could resume again n earnest.

“If we conclude everything within months on the political side, on the basic principles, on the territory issue, on the security issue, property and other remaining main issues, then it is not very important if we extend into 2017 certain other parts that will be worked out,” he said without explaining how if so many issues were undecided after 41 years they could be decided soon.

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