Natural resources of Cyprus 'must benefit all Cypriots'

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Akinci believes the joint drilling and sale of resources around the island could resolve the Cyprus issue

Natural resources of Cyprus 'must benefit all Cypriots'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President Mustafa Akinci believes the joint drilling and sale of natural resources around the island have the potential to resolve the Cyprus issue.

"For a solution to the Cyprus issue, we need to develop and implement such plans that enable drilling and sale of natural resources that benefits all Cypriot people," Akinci said at an event held late Wednesday on the island's UN buffer zone.

Akinci spoke in the presence of his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades, former Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Hristofyas, UN’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot negotiators for peace talks along with representatives of political parties and nongovernmental organizations.

"Natural resources belong to all people of Cyprus. They must serve as a source for cooperation rather than conflict," he said.

The Greek Cypriot administration had unilaterally launched exploratory drilling activities for oil and gas in the Eastern Mediterranean despite strong opposition from the Turkish-Cypriot side, which argued that the island's natural resources should be exploited jointly in a manner that ensured the equal and inherent rights of both peoples over the natural resources were not undermined.

Akinci said that a solution to the dispute would also result in unlimited opportunities in tourism, which he believed was the driving force for economies on both sides of the Mediterranean island.

He added that the economic welfare for all citizens of a federal Cyprus required the establishment of an economy that was competitive, resistant to crises and shocks and one that could be directed to different areas.

Anastasiades said that the future of the two communities of the divided island could only be promised by a unified and EU member Cyprus which respected human rights and fundamental rights.

Anastasiades believed a permanent solution on the island would guarantee economic prosperity and growth, yield in development and welfare for all Cypriots, and enable stability via political and economic trust.

He emphasized that a solution would also ease access to international financial resources and unexplored markets, putting the troubled Cypriot economy into a renewal which would also get reflected to other sectors.

The Greek Cypriot leader also said that the restructuring of the abandoned resort city of Maras (Varosha) would create employment and new work areas apart from opportunities for investing in sectors like construction.

"Solution will benefit not only Cypriot people but also other related parties like Turkey and Greece," he said.

On June 29, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders along with UN’s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide gathered at the UN's Good Office on the island for their fourth meeting. The next meeting scheduled for July 10 will be the fifth such meeting between the two sides.

Political tensions in the long-divided island have eased since talks resumed on May 15. 

On May 28, both leaders agreed on a five-step plan to resolve the Cyprus issue following a meeting hosted by Eide. These steps included opening more crossing points, interconnecting power grids, allowing mobile phone interoperability on both sides of the island, resolving the issue of radio frequency conflicts, and forming a joint committee on gender equality.

Peace talks were unilaterally suspended by the Greek Cypriot administration last October after Turkey issued an advisory on behalf of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus for seismic research off the coast of Cyprus.

The island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern one third and a Greek Cypriot administration in the southern two-thirds after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor state in Cyprus.

Border gates between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Greek-administered southern Cyprus were opened on April 2003. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 09 Temmuz 2015, 15:59