The Turkish Cypriot approach with regards to Varosha, the fenced-off city of Famagusta, is “totally unacceptable” and promotes partition, said Vasilis Palmas, the Undersecretary to the President.
Palmas was asked by CNA to comment on an initiative unveiled on Tuesday by Kudret Ozersay, a Turkish Cypriot “official” of the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime and former negotiator of the Turkish Cypriot side, who announced that a team of experts will enter Varosha to record all property assets.
Palmas said that back in 2014, when then US Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Cyprus “we were very close to a deal regarding the creation of a joint committee on Famagusta comprising Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, as well as foreign experts, a deal that was overturned in the last minute by Ozersay.”
Regarding Tuesday’s announcement, Palmas said that “this is a totally unacceptable approach of the matter, which promotes in essence a pro-partition stance.”
The position of the Cyprus government is clear, he went on, and underlined the need for a comprehensive Cyprus settlement, that will safeguard the functionality and viability of the solution.
The proper way to solve the Cyprus problem is to sit at the negotiating table in a good climate and under conditions that are today absent, due to Turkey’s activity in the Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), said the Undersecretary to the President. He also reiterated support for the continuation of talks from where they were left off at the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, in the summer of 2017, with the precondition that the Turkish side ceases its provocative activity in the EEZ
Asked if there is merit to the Turkish Cypriot announcement, Palmas said it is hard to tell. “We are dealing with Turkey which is the one pulling the strings. I don’t’ think this initiative belongs to Ozersay, this was probably done with Turkey’s guidance” he noted.
Asked finally about the timing of the Turkish Cypriot announcement, the Undersecretary to the President remarked that Turkey and President Erdogan are enraged following the arrest warrants issued by the Republic of Cyprus against crew members taking part in illegal drilling activities, conducted Turkish drill ship “Fatih” in the Republic’s EEZ.
Last month Turkey issued a navigational telex, announcing its intention to start drilling off Cyprus until September 3.
Since May 4, the Turkish drill ship “Fatih”, accompanied by three service ships, is located almost 40 nautical miles west of the Akamas peninsula and 83 nautical miles from the Turkish coast. The area falls within the EEZ and continental shelf of the Republic of Cyprus.
(Cyprus News Agency)