Government: EU members agree with Nicosia’s position on Ankara’s demand regarding the four EU fundamental freedoms
European Union member states agree with the position of President Nicos Anastasiades with regard to Ankara`s demand that Turkish citizens in Cyprus enjoy the four EU fundamental freedoms after a solution of the Cyprus problem, irrespective of the fact that Turkey is not an EU member state, Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides has said.
In statements to the media on Sunday, the Spokesman said that the government has contacted the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide to be informed about his discussion on Saturday with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, adding that nothing new came up concerning the Turkish Cypriot side`s positions.
He noted that “our message to Mr. Akinci and in general to everyone is that we need to be serious and committed at the negotiating table,” pointing out that the prospect of a Cyprus settlement can be examined only at the talks.
Christodoulides said that the current state of affairs in Cyprus is not a solution either for the Greek Cypriots or the Turkish Cypriots, and even more so for the Turkish Cypriots because the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime, in northern Turkish occupied Cyprus, cannot be recognised or upgraded.
“Therefore, everyone must assume his responsibilities and see how to overcome substantive disagreements at the negotiating table with a view to have a positive outcome,” he added.
Invited to comment on information that the European Commission is considering Ankara`s demand that the four EU fundamental freedoms are allocated to Turkish citizens in Cyprus after a settlement, as was the case of Brazilian nationals who live in Portugal, the spokesman explained that each case is different and what applies to Brazilians relates to only one aspect of the four fundamental freedoms.
He noted that “our position is crystal clear, this is an issue which concerns the EU as a whole, all the member states.”
Christodoulides said that the government has begun to receive the reaction of EU members to a letter President Anastasiades had sent them on this issue, which overall reflect the absolute identity of views with the positions the President has outlined on this issue.
He said the President will be in Brussels on March 8 to meet the new President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, meet the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and attend the EU Summit.
He added that the issue of the four EU fundamental freedoms for Turkish citizens will be discussed during Anastasiades` meetings in Brussels.
Invited to comment on a statement by Eide on a new methodology at the talks and that a new Conference on Cyprus should take place once it can deliver substantive results, the Spokesman said that this new methodology is something to which Anastasiades himself referred to publicly and has to do with his proposal at the negotiating table to draft a three-column document with a view to hold discussions on concrete issues.
He said that dialogue must continue in the framework of a Conference on Cyprus in Geneva and expressed Anastasiades` readiness to attend such a Conference, and the hope that the other side will have a positive response to this.
The first Conference on Cyprus addressing the issue of security and guarantees took place in Geneva under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, with the participation of Anastasiades and Akinci, the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with an aim to reunify the island under a federal roof.
Akinci walked out of a meeting in mid February, in the framework of the UN-led negotiations on the Cyprus problem. Anastasiades and Akinci had elaborated earlier on in that meeting their positions on an amendment passed by the Cypriot Parliament which includes a once a year reference no more than ten minutes at school to the 1950 referendum held in Cyprus, advocating enosis (union with Greece).
President Anastasiades has described the House amendment “wrong” and called on Akinci to return to the negotiating table. Akinci demands that the amendment is revoked before returning to the negotiating table.