World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey's Foreign Minister said that Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot negotiators "took an important step" by making simultaneous visits to the Greek capital of Athens and Ankara to end the 40-year division of Cyprus.
The comments were made during a press conference with the Turkish Foreign Minister’s Bulgarian counterpart, Kristian Vigenin in Sofia.
Turkish Cypriot negotiator Kudret Ozersay met with Greek Foreign Ministry Secretary General Anastasis Mitsialis in Athens, while Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis came together with Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu in Ankara.
These are the first visits of this kind since the division of the island in 1974.
"It is a historic step and proves mutual trust," Ahmet Davutoglu said. "We (Turkey) believe that such visits should be maintained."
He added that the island of Cyprus belongs to both peoples.
"The will of both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot nationals will overcome this dispute. Both Turkey and Greece support the solution of the dispute," he added.
Negotiations over Cyprus are set to resume after a 2004 deal, put forward by former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities, was defeated by a "no" vote.
Turkish Cypriots had voted in favor of the Annan plan.
A joint declaration announced by the UN mission in Cyprus on February 11 said a settlement between the two sides “will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality".
Kudret Ozersay, the negotiator from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), also dubbed the negotiations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot parts of the island as “historic”.
Ozersay talked to the press after the meeting with Greece’s Foreign Ministry Secretary General Anastasios Mitsialis, in Athens on Thursday.
“We had a five-hour-meeting today and we almost covered all of the topics. We took Greece’s opinion on the issue and this meeting itself is historic,” the negotiator said.
He added that Turkish and Greek Cypriots will solve the Cyprus issue together, adding that TRNC regards the talks as "the beginning of a comprehensive dialogue”.
“Turkey, Greece, the UK and other countries will join the negotiations at some point in the process,” he said.
Meanwhile in Ankara, Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis met with Feridun Sinirlioglu, an undersecretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
The Foreign Ministry of TRNC welcomed the negotiators' parallel visits in Turkey and Greece, calling it a “pleasing” progress. TRNC is determined to ease the process to reach a settlement on the island, a written statement from the ministry said.Last Mod: 28 Şubat 2014, 09:30