World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci said Friday that sides on the divided island began to negotiate "more controversial" issues, including property rights and territorial adjustments.
Speaking at a news conference following his meeting with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, Akinci said peace talks between Turkish and Greek Cypriots had achieved significant progress on governance, power sharing, EU matters and the economy since they were launched earlier this year.
"Now we have entered into the other area which seem to be perhaps a little more controversial, and that is the property issue, territorial adjustments and security guarantees,” he said.
Akinci said that he and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades had reached an agreement to establish a property commission that would comprise equal numbers of Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
"The decisions of this property commission is going to be based on the criteria which will be mutually agreed upon," he said. "Now our negotiators are going to negotiate on these criteria and I hope that they will come up with tangible results soon."
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot administration in the northern third and a Greek Cypriot one in the southern two-thirds after a 1974 military coup by Greece was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Long-stalled negotiations to find a way to settle the conflict resumed May 15.
"The property regime should not disrupt the social order. The remedies will include mainly compensation. Therefore, we will need to focus on the financing of the comprehensive settlement," Akinci said.
He reiterated the Turkish Cypriots' commitment to a solution, adding, "We believe that, likewise Mr. Anastasiades said, we don't need to create losers and winners, but we can create winners on both sides.
"In fact, we can create such a situation where it will not only be Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to win out of this solution, but in general, with this solution, we can create a good example which our area is badly in need of. We can create a situation where we can add to the stability of our area," he said.
He added that both leaders would come together more often from November on and expressed hope that a solution would be achieved "fairly soon.”
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Ban said he welcomed "the positive and constructive spirit demonstrated by the leaders, as well as their commitment to intensify the pace of the leaders’ meetings in the months to come" to achieve a comprehensive settlement on the island.
During their meeting, Ban and Akinci also discussed the involvement of Turkey, Greece and Britain in the peace process as guarantor powers, the statement said.
"The Secretary-General assured Mr. Akıncı of his personal and the United Nations’ steadfast commitment of continuing to facilitate the efforts of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders in the talks," it added.