“I expect that the negotiations will commence in the second week of May”

Foreign Minister Özdil Nami stated that he expects the negotiations to commence in the second week of May, expressing that they must continue from where they were left off.

Foreign Minister Nami assessed the Cyprus negotiation process to an AA journalist. Pointing out that we are approaching the 51st year of the Cyprus problem, Nami emphasized that a sense of “enough is enough” has developed in the UN Security Council pertaining to the issue.

Nami stated that at the latest meeting in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, Ban indicated to Nami that the UN is exerting a final effort as regards to Cyprus. Nami added that he shared this message with the Turkish Cypriot people and that he attributes great importance to the negotiation process.

Foreign Minister Nami referred to the statements of Espen Barth Eide, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary General that the entire world and especially the UN pointed to the risks to both sides of the Island if the issue is constantly left pending. Nami referred to the wish of the UN for the negotiations to continue in a more intensified manner to finally reach a conclusion.

Indicating that he considers the statements of Eide to be very important, Minister Nami stated “Eide is referring to himself as the last Special Advisor. We hope that it will be so and that the negotiations will be successfully concluded within the year 2015, as Mr. Eide has also expressed, following the presidential elections in the TRNC”.

Reiterating his expectation for the negotiations to commence in the second week of May following the Presidential elections in the TRNC on 19 April, Nami stated “The first meeting will likely determine what kind of setup the negotiations will proceed within. The following meetings will surely focus on substance. It is clear what the unresolved issues are. These will be taken up within the framework of a specific plan and all the work will culminate in a multi-party conference. Then the process will be finalized. For all of this to materialize we hope that the Greek Cypriot side will display the necessary political will”.

“He did not behave as a statesman”

Stating that he does not want the hydrocarbons issue to have an adverse effect on the comprehensive settlement negotiations, Foreign Minister Özdil Nami recalled that the former Greek Cypriot leader did not use this as an excuse to suspend the negotiations in the past. Nami stated “The hydrocarbons became an issue with Greek Cypriot leader, Nikos Anastasiades. Unfortunately, the policies and approach of Mr. Anastasiades have led to a significant loss of time and unnecessary tensions. Instead of thinking strategically and behaving as a statesman motivated by a comprehensive settlement Anastasiades opted to engage in tactical maneuvers. We hope that the negotiations will continue with an Anastiades who has learned his lesson”.

Minister Nami expressed that the Turkish Cypriot side displayed a consistent approach to the negotiation process since its beginning and added “No matter what happens in the region, the Turkish Cypriot side has never left the comprehensive settlement negotiations. We are displaying the same approach today. When we look to the future after the month of May, we expect a process which is well structured and focused on unresolved issues, as expressed in the Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014.

The negotiations must continue from where they were left off. Anything contrary to this is unthinkable. Both Anastasiades and Espen Barth Eide made statements to the effect that the negotiations should continue from where they were left off. The stage where they were left off is not positive. We know that Anastasiades had adopted an approach where he did not accept the previously reached convergences. I believe that this issue will also be resolved with the involvement of the UN. We are not against the interventions of the UN as long as it internalizes the fact that this process cannot continue endlessly and presents the peoples of the two sides with a comprehensive settlement plan endorsed by the two leaders. The Turkish Cypriot side is prepared for all of these. But the Greek Cypriot side appears perplexed. We hope that these confusions can be overcome and that we can engage with serious counterparts throughout this process. We hope they can show courage along with us”.

“I have serious concerns”

Expressing that he has serious concerns as to whether the negotiation process will progress at the expected pace in the year 2015, Nami stated “I wonder whether the process will progress at the expected pace. The greatest source of these concerns are the tactical maneuvers of the Greek Cypriot side which hides behind its recognition, perpetuates our isolation, continues to impose embargos, raises issues regarding Turkey’s EU membership process and attempts to use the hydrocarbons issue as a bargaining chip against us rather than a facilitator to a solution”.

Foreign Minister Nami stated that the UN must live up to its promises to the Turkish Cypriots if it sincerely wants the Cyprus issue to be resolved. Nami stated “The UN Secretary General has expressed in his report that the lifting of the isolation imposed on the Turkish Cypriots will contribute to reaching a comprehensive settlement. If we really want 2015 to be the year of a settlement, I believe that it will be greatly beneficial for the world to take this recommendation seriously and to do what is necessary in this regard”.