Anastasiades letter replying to Akinci’s proposal to be sent next week at the latest, Palmas tells CNA

Deputy Minister to the President, Vasilis Palmas, has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) that the letter by which Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, will respond to the proposal made by Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci about the co-management of energy resources, is expected to be sent next week at the latest both to Akinci and to the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

Invited to say if apart from explaining the reasons for rejecting Akincis proposal, Anastasiades will include a counter-proposal in his letter, Palmas referred to the danger of an internationally recognized state by the international community being equated with a puppet regime. Therefore anything included in the letter must be expressed in a way that will not lead to such a thing, he added.

He once again underlined that Akinci is making an effort to disorient the effort of achieveing a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Palmas recalled the convergences on the issue of hydrocarbons achieved between the former President of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and the former Turkish Cypriot leader, Mehmet Ali Talat. He said that the agreement between Christofias and Talat provided that energy issues will be dealt by the federal government when the Cyprus problem is solved, while a law has passed from the parliament for the establishment of a fund to manage income from hydrocarbons.

Therefore to a large extent any concerns are being allayed. If anything will be added to this is must not refer to “dialogue between two states,” he added.

Palmas also said that most probably Anastasiades letter, which is already being drafted, will be sent in the same way as Akincis proposal, via the UN.

The Council of political party leaders, which convened on Tuesday, under President Anastasiades, rejected Akincis proposal, noting that it deviates from the essence, which is the resumption of substantive negotiations with the aim to reach a viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem. Moreover the political leaders authorized the President of the Republic to give a substantiated reply regarding the negative points included in Akincis proposal, both to the Turkish Cypriot leader and to the UN Secretary-General.

President Anastasiades asked the political party leaders to send their positions in writing as well. Palmas made it clear that this does not mean that their positions will be incorporated in Anastasiades letter. “President Anastasiades has the responsibility for handling this issue. He cannot include in his letter points on which the government does not agree”, Palmas said.

All parties will be able to send their positions within the next couple of days, Palmas added, noting that left-wing party AKEL was expected to send its positions today.

As regards Russias opposition to the European Union’s decision on measures against Turkey, due to Ankaras actions in the Eastern Mediterranean, Palmas said that the Russians has expressed this position since the EU adopted sanctions against Russia as well.

Moreover he noted that on the issue of the EEZ the Russians “supported us. They disagreed with Turkey and its offensive behaviour,” he noted.

Turkey issued in May a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3. Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship Fatih is anchored in an area that falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.

A second Turkish drill ship, Yavuz, arrived off the island’s northeastern coast last week.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency