Cyprus Mail: Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci blames Greek Cypriot side for stalled talks

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Tuesday blamed the Greek Cypriot side for the collapse of the talks in Switzerland as the United Nations reaffirmed their support for the process and urged the sides to continue towards reaching a settlement this year.

President Nicos Anastasiades did not make any public statement after returning from Mont Pelerin, but the government spokesman said that he spoke to Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on the phone.

Despite the failure of the talks, UN Secetary-General Ban ki-Moon remained confident “that the two leaders will rise above the current challenges in the process”, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

“He is also hopeful that they will continue to work tirelessly, as they have done so far, towards reaching a settlement inside 2016,” the spokesman said.

He added that the international organisation would continue to support the process.

Though initially appearing that they were going well, the talks in Mont Pelerin broke down on Monday, spreading disappointment among Greek and Turkish Cypriots who had been hoping things would be different this time.

The two sides appeared to disagree over the territory to be returned in the event of a settlement. Greek Cypriots reportedly wanted some 90,000 refugees to return, which also meant that the Turkish side would have to give up Morphou.

Reports said the Turkish side was trying to reduce this to 70,000 to 75,000.

Akinci said the collapse of the talks was the fault of the Greek Cypriots but he said there was still a possibility of resolving the matter this year as he expressed readiness to return to the negotiating table.

The Turkish Cypriot leader said the Greek Cypriot side raised irrational demands and had no intention of shifting from its positions.

He said the Turkish Cypriot side agreed that some refugees should return, without however disrupting daily lives on either side.

Akinci said the number of people the Greek Cypriot side wanted to resettle was excessive since many were no longer alive.

The Turkish Cypriot side said Anastasiades had kept a hardline stance on territory and also censured Greece for its position on holding a five-party conference.

Greek Premier Tsipras had stressed last week that the issue of security “can be settled at a multilateral framework only on the basis of an agreement to abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and the full withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island.”

Turkish Cypriots want territory also to be settled at the multilateral meeting that would include Turkey, Greece and the UK as guarantor powers.

A Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday it would be good to set a date for the meeting but talks should continue in the meantime.

In a written statement, Huseyin Muftuoglu said a good opportunity had been lost at Mont Pelerin but Turkey’s determination to find a viable solution was still there.

Despite the failure in the talks, it emerged on Tuesday that a meeting between Tsipras and Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan has been set for next month to discuss the issues of security and guarantees.

Against a backdrop of negativity, brought on by the two sides’ failure to reach agreement on territorial adjustments, the Greek government leaked that a meeting between Tsipras and Erdogan will take place on December 4.

Source: Cyprus Mail