President Mustafa Akıncı and Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman came together today for their routine weekly meeting to discuss foreign and domestic issues.
The meeting held at the Presidential palace lasted for over an hour.
The upcoming visit to the island by the UN Secretary General’s Special Temporary Envoy Jane Holl Lute as well as other issues topped the agenda of the meeting.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, President Mustafa Akıncı said that he had found the opportunity to discuss a number of issues during his meeting with the Prime Minister Tufan Erhürman today.
One of the issues we discussed was the resettlement of Maronites to their villages in the TRNC. I was informed by the Prime Minister that the government is continuing to carry out its work to make the return of the Maronites possible. My undersecretary and the Prime Minister’s undersecretary will continue to work in close consultation on the matter” he added.
Touching upon his meeting with the UN special envoy on Sunday, the President reminded that Lute’s contacts were aimed at assessing whether or not there was a sufficient common understanding and grounds to restart a new negotiations process.
“In the meantime, ahead of Ms Lute’s visit, the UN Security Council adopted the resolution extending the mandate of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus for another 6 months. As you know these resolutions and reports are drafted following consultations and contacts with the sides concerned” he said.
Pointing out that in no point in time during his term in office, did the Turkish Cypriot side advocate a complete end to UNFICYP’s mandate on the island; Akıncı however stated that this did not mean that the mandate should not be revised.
“UN Peacekeepers were first sent to Cyprus in March 1964. That means 55 years. UNFICYP should not become a symbol of the status quo on the island nor should the mandate serve to further encourage the Greek Cypriot side’s reluctance to work towards a settlement” he said, reminding that half of UNFICYP’s financing was provided by Greece and the Greek Cypriot Administration.
Criticizing the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side’s consent was not taken whilst the decision to extend UNFICYP’s mandate was taken, Akıncı said that this must change in the future.
In regards the possibility of restarting a new negotiations process, President Akıncı said the Turkish Cypriot side was not closed to the idea of discussing the notion of a loose federation where the constituent states have more powers as long as the process was to be results-oriented, subject to timetables and safeguarded the political equality of the two sides.
“Even if the word timetables are not used in all the latest UN reports and resolutions, the wording used, ‘foreseeable horizons’, implies it” he added.
Stating that the latest resolution also emphasized the importance of confidence building measures, the President said that everyone was well aware of the Turkish Cypriot side’s positive stance on this issue.
Pointing the finger of blame at the Greek Cypriot side, Akıncı said “What the report should question is why the existing CBMs already agreed upon such as island-wide mobile phone operability, interconnectivity of electricity grids, education and mine clearing have not yet been implemented”.
Akıncı also said that as developments unfold on the Cyprus Problem, he will continue to discuss and meet with the government and parliament before taking decisions on the basis of collective thinking.