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Christodoulides: EU and Anastasiades share position on Four Freedoms

The EU Member States and President Nicos Anastasiades’ positions on Turkish nationals being awarded the Four Freedoms completely coincide, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Sunday.

The ‘four freedoms’ of the EU are the freedom of movement of goods, people, services and capital over borders.

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Tugrul Turkes, is one of the senior Turkish politicans who recently publicly stated his country will not budge on its request for four freedoms for Turkish nationals (not Turkish Cypriots) living in Cyprus.

But, speaking to reporters on Sunday, Christodoulides said: “Our position is clear. This is an issue that involves the EU in its entirety, it is an issue that involves all the Member States”.

He said Anastasiades had already been receiving written written responses from other member state’s indicating their positions on the issue were the same as those of the Republic of Cyprus– that it was not possible for Turkish nationals to enjoy the Four Freedoms ahead of Turkey’s accession to the EU.

Christodoulides also noted Anastasiades would be travelling to Brussels on March 8 to meet the new President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani and would be meeting with  President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker the following day.

Christodoulides revealed the government had taken the initiative of contacting UN Envoy on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide to find out more about his Saturday contacts with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

“Nothing new has come about in relation to the positions of the Turkish Cypriot side regarding its intentions at the negotiation table beyond what has openly been said by Mr. Akinci from time to time,” Christodoulides said.

He added: “Our message to Mr. Akinci and generally to everyone is the need to get serious and to get back to the negotiation table” as this is where the prospects for solving the Cyprus problem can be examined.

Christodoulides noted the current situation was not a solution for either the Greek Cypriots or the Turkish Cypriots, acknowledging perhaps more so for the Turkish Cypriots as there could not be formal recognition of the north.

“And so, we all have to live up to our responsibilities at the table and see how essential disagreements can be overcome so that we can reach a positive result,” he said.

The Government Spokesman also made a call for internal unity, saying the international community was aware it was the Turkish Cypriot side that had left the negotiation table.

“There is enough time to allay any pre-election concerns or attempts, which are completely understood and wanted, but we are still a year away from the elections. It is a shame, it is not right, for us to start a pre-election campaign from now, while we all recognise that there can be no talks if there is no progress on the Turkish stance and we are at each other’s throats over who is resposible for the current situation,” Christodoulides said.

He added that the new methodology on getting the talks back on track referred to by Eide was something Anastasiades had talked about in the past and which involved the discussion of specific issues to determined whether dialogue could continue.

He said the Conference on Cyprus in Geneva had seen significant dialogue take place on the Guarantee Powers issue.

“This is something that was discussed for the first time, when all the stakeholders exchanged opinions,” Christodoulides said, adding: “We believe this dialogue must continue in Geneva and I express the President readiness to attend and we hope the will be a response from the other side”.

He said everyone, and the UN more than anyone, was aware of the difficulties of setting a new Geneva summit.

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