TRNC's Eroglu: "Any Cyprus deal must be lasting"
Any agreement to end the Cyprus problem should be a comprehensive and lasting one, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus President (TRNC) Dervis Eroglu said yesterday. "We are very much in favor of a solution, but this requires both parties' contributions," Eroglu said in a speech at Ankara University marking the beginning of the academic year. Eroglu and his Greek counterpart Dimitris Christofias have been negotiating a solution to the issue of Cyprus' division but with little evident progress so far. The two leaders, under United Nations auspices, have discussed a number of important issues towards a lasting agreement, but a solution before year's-end is unlikely. Rebuffing critics who predicted before he took office that negotiations would stop because he doesn't favor peace, Eroglu said he witnessed armed conflict on Cyprus and so knows what a true peace deal would mean, adding that he wants peace more than his critics. "But not peace reached by any means," Erdoglu said, stressing that Turkish Cypriots want an agreement in which they live in pride, and one which doesn't harm Turkey's interests. Pointing to two problems which held back peace, he decried how Turkish Cypriots were sidelined when Cyprus was left to the Greeks and a promised peacekeeping force never arrived, and also how the European Union accepted Greeek Cyprus as a member in 2004. "The Greek Cypriots joined the EU just after they rejected the Annan plan," which the Turkish Cypriots accepted, he said.