Özersay tells sides to ‘cooperate now’
THE two sides in Cyprus should cooperate now “rather than waiting for a solution”, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay said during a visit to the US this week.
Dr Özersay visited New York and Washington, where his agenda included meeting United Nations and UK officials.
His contacts included discussion of the future of Cyprus’s Unficyp peacekeeping force, ahead of the expected delivery of the UN secretary-general’s latest report on the force, including the potential extension of its mandate, to the Security Council on Thursday or Friday.
Dr Özersay commented: “The Greek Cypriot view is that there is a negotiating process, so the status of the UN Peacekeepers should continue the same.
“There is no consistency in this viewpoint because, at present, there is no negotiating process in Cyprus.
“The Greek Cypriot side wants the continuation of the status quo in relation to [Unficyp] and . . . are very comfortable from this situation. The Turkish Cypriot side is against this.”
He commented of his meetings: “We are trying to represent Turkish Cypriots as they rightfully deserve in all international platforms through an understanding of active diplomacy. We do not see foreign policy as something to be dealt with by sitting in Lefkoşa.”
It was important to “hav[e] meetings and express our views prior to decisions being made, either with the UN or with the representatives of the Security Council”, he said, since such discussions, offering the chance to put forward “new and constructive ideas”, made it “possible to get results”.
On Tuesday, Dr Özersay met Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix at UN headquarters in New York, and said after the 40-minute meeting he had taken the opportunity to “renew” an earlier demand that the UN camp near Eastern Mediterranean Univeristy in Gazimağusa be relocated.
“We are awaiting a response from the UN, which will determine our subsequent actions,” he said.
Dr Özersay also held talks with the UK’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, Jonathan Allen, as well as representatives from permanent Security Council members the Russian Federation, current term president the Dominican Republic, and of Germany and Peru. Speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington on Wednesday, Dr Özersay also commented on the issues of security and natural resources, saying: “The two sides [in Cyprus] should be able to cooperate in respect of the fight against terrorism, black money movements, extradition of criminals, natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, without necessarily waiting for a solution. “This is precisely what will secure the building of trust between [them].” Referring to the 2011 blast at Mari, in South Cyprus, after which the Greek Cypriots had reluctantly bought electricity from the North to combat a severe power shortage, he said: “There is a need for a pragmatic approach. This electriticy trade took place via the Cyprus Turkish Chamber of Commerce. If there is intention, there are ways. “What will force cooperation is having the ‘need’ — this has to be felt by the Greek Cypriot side. But at present, they feel no such need.”
Under-Secretary-General for UN Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix (left) and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kudret Özersay