President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has announced Confidence Building Measures in an effort to strengthen the negotiating process due to resume next month.
In a written statement on Tuesday, issued only two days after the election of Mustafa Akinci to the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, President Anastasiades said he hoped the measures will create a climate of trust and hope among the entire people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
The measures include information and maps with regard to anti-personnel minefields in the northern Turkish occupied areas and transferring to EVKAF (religious foundation) the management of the Muslim places of worship that are in the southern government controlled areas and belong to Turkish Cypriots.
In his statement, Anastasiades announced the measures “on the occasion of the resumption of the talks and my strong conviction for the need to create a climate of trust that will be working toward strengthening the negotiating procedure”.
During the “first joint meeting with Mr. Akinci, I intend to hand over maps and information with regard to 28 anti-personnel minefields in the Pendadaktylos area”, the President said.
He also announced the “transfer of the management to Evkaf of the Muslim places of worship that are in the free areas, and which belong to the Turkish Cypriot community and are not under the protection for foreign embassies”.
Anastasiades further said a “decision has been made to hire Turkish speaking officers at the Citizen Service Centers in Nicosia so that the service to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots is made easier”.
He welcomed “the effort that is under way to unify football in Cyprus and I hope that it is concluded successfully at the earliest possible”.
Anastasiades said that it “is well-known that for the purpose stated above I had suggested a mutually beneficial set of Confidence Building Measures, and it is with special satisfaction that I ascertain the willingness of the new leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mr. Akinci, to engage in a dialogue for the adoption of the Measures that will secure a climate of trust and hope among the entire people of Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots”.
In a landslide victory on Sunday, Akinci garnered over 60% of the vote and his opponent Dervis Eroglu 39%.
UN-led peace talks are expected to resume in May, with the top UN Cyprus envoy arriving on the island next week to prepare the ground for the resumption of the talks.