The Cyprus issue is a “totally European problem” and Cyprus demands that the European factor is fully engaged in the new effort underway with a view to solve the problem, the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side Andreas Mavroyiannis said Wednesday during a public debate on the Euro-Turkish relations and the Cyprus question.

Mavroyiannis said the Cyprus question is a problem which concerns a European country and it is inconceivable for anything to happen which would not comply with Cyprus’ EU membership.

“This must be crystal clear, because without this there can be no negotiations on the Cyprus problem,” he noted, adding that “we are beginning a new effort and we want and demand that this factor is fully integrated into whatever we do for the Cyprus problem”.

He also said that so far negotiations were taking place on terms of the past.

Commenting on Turkey’s EU progress report, Mavroyiannis said that “despite the fact that it outlines some progress on certain topics, in essence it does not note any progress.”

There is a stalemate in Turkey’s accession negotiations and there is mistrust by the EU about Turkey’s will to implement what is required to join the Union, he added.

Ankara, he said, is interested in promoting its EU accession course because all its policies in the region have reached a deadlock, and therefore it needs the EU but it does not want to be under pressure.

Referring to a proposal by Nicosia on the return of the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta, he noted that it reflects the link with Turkey’s European prospects, as such good will gestures are related to European issues.
Speaking at the same event, former Foreign Minister of Greece Tasos Yiannitsis expressed the belief that conditions exists to reach a sound agreement on the Cyprus problem.

Head of the European Commission Representation to Cyprus George Markopouliotis said the EU strongly believes that the Cyprus problem can and must be solved and that there is a new momentum which one must seize.

University of Cyprus professor Niazi Gizilgurek said that Turkey is today isolated and has serious problems with its neigbours, adding that this shows the failure of the Turkish foreign policy.

Dubbed a “ghost town”, Famagusta’s fenced off section – called Varosha – remains to this day deserted, abandoned to the elements. Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met the refusal of the Turkish side.

A new effort has recently been launched by President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, who submitted a proposal on the return of Varosha and the use of its port by the Turkish Cypriots for exports to EU countries. The President believes this would help build confidence, proving that the two communities on the island can coexist peacefully in conditions of prosperity and peace.

Previous UN led efforts to reunite the country have failed. A fresh round of talks on the reunification of Cyprus under a federal roof is expected to start later this year

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