President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to send a non-paper to President Mustafa Akonci, containing his counter-proposals on the issue of natural gas, after discussing this matter on Friday during his meeting with Mustafa Akinci, said a government source.
President Anastasiades had on Friday an informal meeting with President Akinci, in the Chief of Mission’s residence, in the UN-protected area of the now-defunct Nicosia airport. After the meeting, President Akinci stated that President Anastasiades promised to give in writing his ideas about the issue of natural gas. From his part, Anastasiades stated that Akinci’s proposal to form a joint committee to administer natural gas can not be accepted. He added that he submitted counter-proposals, in a bid to secure the rights of Turkish Cypriots on this matter, and expressed his readiness to inform the Turkish Cypriot President on the energy decisions of South Cyprus.
“We are talking about a non-paper, we are not talking about a proposal,” a government source told CNA, adding that its content will be in line with The July 22, 2019, letter the President sent to the UN Secretary-General. Moreover, the same source said that by promising to inform Akinci about natural gas decisions, the President is displaying goodwill, while making a clear distinction from the joint administration of natural resources, the Turkish Cypriot side requests.
In his July 22 letter, which was also conveyed to the EU and the Turkish Cypriot President, in response to Akinci’s proposal for a joint administration of natural gas, the President referred, among others, to the aspects safeguarding the rights of Turkish Cypriots on this matter. He noted in the letter that further to the convergences reached and the establishment of a National Sovereign Fund, he was willing to examine additional safeguard mechanisms to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots from the revenues, when and if accrued, from hydrocarbon exploration, in the framework of a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The same source also referred to the concrete proposal President Anastasiades submitted on Friday about the terms of reference, noting that the convergences which led to the Crans Montana conference, in the summer of 2017, also cover natural gas issues, such as the agreement about the share of Turkish Cypriots and the acceptance of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Moreover, the government source said that past convergences also include the map which was submitted in Geneva, in January 2017, which sets Famagusta under Greek Cypriot administration.
The President’s proposal on the terms of reference seems to encounter no opposition from the Turkish Cypriot side, the source continued and expressed the expectation that this will be also ascertained during the next visit of UN envoy, Jane Holl Lute, in Cyprus.