Öz­er­say tells sides to ‘co­op­er­ate now’

Cyprus Today - - NEWS - By KEREM HASAN Chief Re­porter

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

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