The Turkish Cyprus Foreign Minister said on Thursday that peace talks with Greek Cyprus will resume in May.
In an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency, Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Özdil Nami said that in a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he was told that the U.N. is now working on a final resolution for the Cyprus issue.
U.N. Special Advisor for Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, recently said that he will be the last special advisor for Cyprus. Nami responded: "We hope so. We hope the peace talks, which start after the presidential election in Turkish Cyprus, will be finalized in the year 2015."
Regarding the dispute with Greek Cyprus over offshore exploration for oil and gas, Nami said that he does not expect it to affect peace negotiations, and that it was used as an excuse to hinder peace talks by the leaders at the time. "We went over the hydrocarbon issue with Greek Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiadis. Unfortunately, Anastasiadis caused loss of time and unnecessary tension with his policies. Instead of thinking strategically and acting like a statesman who seeks solutions, Anastasiadis was occupied with tactical maneuvers."
"No matter what happened in the region, the Turkish side did not give up on extended peace negotiations. What is happening now is a result of this," he added.
Nami raised concerns about the negotiation process: "We wonder whether the process will continue at this pace. We are concerned about the Greek side's tactical maneuvers against us, like Turkey's ongoing EU accession bid, continuing embargos and the natural gas issue."
Eide recently said that Anastasiadis was ready to go back to the negotiating table, and said talks would resume within a few weeks.
In October 2014, Turkey and Turkish Cyprus strongly opposed any "unilateral" move by the Greek Cyprus to explore hydrocarbon resources off the island, saying its natural resources should be exploited in an equitable manner by a united Cyprus.
The Turkish Cypriot government has repeatedly said that the resources of the island of Cyprus belonged to both communities and that Turkish Cypriots would not give up their rights to the resources.
Negotiations between the Greek and Turkish Cyprus resumed after a two-year pause in February 2013.
However, Greek Cyprus suspended the talks over the divided island on Oct. 7, 2014 after Turkey sent a ship to monitor an oil and gas exploration mission off the Cypriot coast.
Turkey has removed its exploration vessel, the Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa, from the seas off the island.
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