Kasoulides discusses resumption of talks, security and four freedoms with Sir Alan Duncan

The Cyprus issue was the focus of the meeting between Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and the UK Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan, at the Foreign Office, on Thursday.

The two Ministers discussed the prospect of stalled talks between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities in Cyprus resuming; the importance that Greek Cypriots attribute to reaching a satisfactory settlement on security for a future reunified Cyprus; and the recent demand by Turkey for the four fundamental EU freedoms to be enjoyed by its nationals in Cyprus.

Speaking after the meeting, the Cypriot Foreign Minister said that the talks have been temporarily suspended with the other side showing “lightness”. As he added, he explained to Sir Alan that “the temporary suspension is a storm in teacup and that the reasons for which the meetings have been suspended are not reasons that would not allow the meetings to resume.”

On the security issue, the Cypriot Foreign Minister said: “We explained (to Sir Alan) why security is what would enable us to accept elements of the bizonal bicommunal federation with political equality settlement relating to the governance of a reunified Cyprus. Without a satisfactory solution on security, Cypriots are not prepared to accept the disadvantageous elements of the settlement.”

Kasoulides then referred to the Turkish demand for the four freedoms. “We also discussed the unthinkable burden on the talks suddenly imposed by this demand for the four fundamental freedoms for the Turkish citizens. We are working for the benefit of the Cypriots, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots; for a state of our own which will be working for the interests of our people. We feel no obligation whatsoever to seek ways of satisfying third parties’ interests,” said the Cypriot Foreign Minister.

In a message on Twitter Sir Alan Duncan commented that “with continued commitment and political will, an historic solution to the Cyprus problem is possible. Great talks with Cypriot FM Kasoulides.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN led talks between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities resumed in May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

The talks were interrupted in mid February by the Turkish Cypriot side, which demands that a decision passed by the Cypriot Parliament relating to a 1950 referendum on union with Greece is revoked, claiming this indicates a shift in the Greek Cypriot sides goal for a federal solution. The amendment provides that there will be a very brief reference to the referendum at schools.

President Anastasiades has described the House decision as wrong and called on the leader of the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, who walked out of the talks, to return to the negotiating table to discuss pending issues with a view to reach a mutually acceptable agreement to reunite the country.

Source: Cyprus News Agency