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President Anastasiades to Send Non Paper to Akinci With Counterproposals on Natural Gas

President Anastasiades to Send Non Paper to Akinci With Counterproposals on Natural Gas

Nicos Anastasiades is expected to send a non paper to the Turkish Cypriot leader, containing his counterproposals on the issue of natural gas, after discussing this matter on Friday, August 9 during his meeting with Mustafa Akinci, said a government source, according to the Cyprus News Agency.

President Anastasiades had on Friday an informal meeting with Akinci, in the Chief of Mission’s residence, in the UN protected area of the now defunct Nicosia airport. After the meeting, Akinci stated that President Anastasiades promised to give in writing his ideas about the issue of natural gas. From his part, the President of Cyprus stated that Akinci’s proposal to form a joint committee to administer natural gas can not be accepted. He added that he submitted counterproposals, in a bid to secure the rights of Turkish Cypriots on this matter, and expressed his readiness to inform the Turkish Cypriot leader on the energy decisions of the Republic of Cyprus.

“We are talking about a non paper, we are not talking about a proposal” a government source told CNA, adding that its content will be in line with the July 22, 2019, letter the President sent to the UN Secretary-General. Moreover, the same source said that by promising to inform Akinci about natural gas decisions, the President is displaying good will, while making a clear distinction from the joint administration of natural resources, the Turkish Cypriot side requests.

In his July 22 letter, which was also conveyed to the EU and the Turkish Cypriot leader, in response to Akinci’s proposal for a joint administration of natural gas, the President referred, among others, to the aspects safeguarding the rights of Turkish Cypriots on this matter. He noted in the letter that further to the convergences reached and the establishment of a National Sovereign Fund, he was willing to examine additional safeguard mechanisms to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots from the revenues, when and if accrued, from hydrocarbon exploration, in the framework of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.

The same source also referred to the concrete proposal President Anastasiades submitted on Friday about the terms of reference, noting that the convergences which led to the Crans Montana conference, in the summer of 2017, also cover natural gas issues, such as the agreement about the share of Turkish Cypriots and the acceptance of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Moreover, the government source said that past convergences also include the map which was submitted in Geneva, in January 2017, which sets Famagusta under Greek Cypriot administration.

The President’s proposal on the terms of reference seems to encounter no opposition from the Turkish Cypriot side, the source continued and expressed the expectation that this will be also ascertained during the next visit of UN envoy, Jane Holl Lute, in Cyprus.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus.  Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

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