Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said that the upcoming months are important for Cyprus problem negotiations due to the natural gas developments in the Republic of Cyprus.
In addition, Akinci said that the international community, including the UN, is fed up with the Cyprus problem, along with the people of Cyprus who wish to see results.
Making his comments after his first meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades since February, Akinci said “the next few months are very important.”
“When I outlined 2016 as a target (for a solution), I tried to underline the risks to be found within 2017. These have started to appear,” said Akinci, adding that the Greek Cypriot side has announced exploratory drillings for July.
“I do not need to mention the risks embedded in this if a solution is not reached,” added Akinci.
Akinci continued: “We want the energy sector to become a sector of cooperation, one of the elements that unite the two sides. We wish a fair distribution of this natural wealth knowing that it belongs to both communities. We know that this will be achieved with a solution.”
In response to a question of whether the negotiations will be halted if the drillings proceed in July, Akinci said that the TC side is not in a position to withdraw from the negotiations for drillings in Cyprus’ EEZ.
Akinci said the GC side does not wish to discuss the natural gas findings at the negotiations with the rationale that it is exercising its sovereign rights.
However, the TC leader added, this sovereignty will stem from both communities.
Akinci said that there is the possibility that there will be tension if the drillings proceed in the Cyprus EEZ, and that this should not be read as a threat on his part, but rather a reality.
To avoid this scenario he said that “either the drillings must be postponed, or the solution procedures accelerated”, claiming that there is sufficient time for a solution by July if full efforts are expended and there is “sincere will”.