Let me make it clear from the outset that I do not know what the content of the letter Mr. Anastasiades will send to all the involved parties and to Mr. Akinci himself on the proposal Mr. Akinci has tabled on the issues relating to natural gas.

AKEL does not consider a simple “No” to be satisfactory. We must table our own counter-proposal. We said yesterday too at the meeting of the Political Leaders, and a letter is already being prepared that will be sent to the President of the Republic and which will include our own comprehensive analysis-proposal that we submit before the President about how, in our view, the issue should be handled.

The period we are going through is extremely critical and decisive for Cyprus’ future and prospects. For that reason, we believe that our reply must be such that it will open up the prospect for the speedier resumption of substantive negotiations on the basis of the Guterres Framework and from the point where we had remained at Crans Montana; that this intention should be sincere and that it shouldn’t be part of a tactic to transfer the problems further down the road, provided of course the Turkish provocative actions are ended.

At the same time, we consider that we need to reply to a number of issues with regards to natural gas; issues that have to do with the Turkish Cypriot community’s concerns, either about the resources that will come from the sale of natural gas or about management issues, as well as issues of concern to Turkey itself.

We consider that with a counter-proposal that will be well-substantiated, comprehensive and correct, both Turkey and Mr. Akinci will be forced to take a stand on these issues, and the prospect of resuming meaningful negotiations, which is what is at stake, can be opened up because the main objective must be the solution of the Cyprus problem. From 1974 until now, we all support the position that the solution of the Cyprus problem will come only through negotiations.

We consequently need to table a counter-proposal that will open up the prospect for the resumption of the negotiations. When we send our letter to the President of the Republic and he receives and studies it, we shall also make it public.

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