Set­tle­ment prospects hiked to 35%

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Sim­i­lar to the mood of con­fi­dence in the fi­nan­cial sec­tor, where rat­ing agen­cies have re­vised up­ward the Cyprus sovereign and bank rat­ings, the Sapi­enta Coun­try Anal­y­sis monthly re­port has re­vised up the prospects of a Cyprus set­tle­ment to 35%, en­cour­aged by the ef­forts of the two com­mu­nity lead­ers.

“We have re­vised up our as­sess­ment of the prospects of a Cyprus set­tle­ment to 35%, from 30% in April and 20% while the ne­go­ti­a­tions were suspended be­tween Oc­to­ber 2014 to March 2015,” the re­port said, that fol­lows pro­pos­als for ‘con­fi­dence build­ing mea­sures’ from both sides in re­cent weeks, while the two lead­ers con­tinue their “cof­feed­iplo­macy” try­ing to rekin­dle hopes of a set­tle­ment.

Af­ter a meet­ing with UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-moon last week, Turk­ish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci said that he ex­pected sub­stan­tial progress “within months, not years” of the suspended talks.

Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades hosted Ak­inci to their joint home town of Li­mas­sol on Mon­day night for a per­for­mance of a Turk­ish Cypriot play at the Rialto theatre.

Af­ter the play per­formed by the Turk­ish Cypriot mu­nic­i­pal theatre, en­ti­tled “Cyprus: Bit­tered in Greek, Wounded in Turk­ish,” Ak­inci told re­porters that “many years ago, when I was Mayor (of north­ern Ni­cosia) back in 1987, 28 years ago, the very same theatre group per­formed a play of Aristo­phanes called ‘Irini’; it was in the Greek Cypriot side when there was no com­mu­ni­ca­tion at all, when there weren’t any cross­ings at all.”

“Tonight I am here with dear friend Ni­cos and we watched an­other play which gave us an­other strong mes­sage, that there is no one with­out any guilt, with­out any fault. On this is­land we com­mit­ted mis­takes, both Greeks and Turk­ish Cypri­ots. The point is to de­rive lessons from th­ese past mis­takes and build a bet­ter fu­ture for younger gen­er­a­tions,” Ak­inci said.

Anas­tasi­ades told re­porters that “the mes­sage we re­ceived from the play is a strong mes­sage. We have to work hard in or­der to bring peace, and I am com­mit­ted to do so and Mustafa is com­mit­ted to do so, and I be­lieve that our peo­ple as well are look­ing for peace.”

Asked if he in­tends to visit the north to watch a sim­i­lar play, he replied “yes, it is within my plans. The north­ern part is a piece of our coun­try, my coun­try and the south­ern part is a piece of Mustafa’s (coun­try) and ev­ery Cypriot’s, there­fore I in­tend to do so.”

The two lead­ers later were hosted to din­ner by Li­mas­sol Mayor An­dreas Chris­tou.

Talks be­tween Anas­tasi­ades and Ak­inci, have been go­ing well since their first din­ner on May 11, the Sapi­enta Coun­try Anal­y­sis said, adding that Anas­tasi­ades clearly be­lieves that Ak­inci is “a man he can do busi­ness with” and both sides have made ef­forts to im­prove the at­mos­phere with var­i­ous ges­tures.

Two days af­ter Ak­inci’s elec­tion on April 26, Anas­tasi­ades an­nounced the trans­fer of con­trol of cer­tain re­li­gious sites to the Evkaf (the cen­turies-old foun­da­tion that tra­di­tion­ally looks af­ter Is­lamic sites); pledged to hand over the maps of land­mines laid in the Pen­tadak­ty­los range be­fore the di­vi­sion in 1974; and to em­ploy Turk­ish-speak­ers at cit­i­zen’s ser­vice cen­tres.

Dur­ing the lead­ers’ first for­mal meet­ing on May 15, Ak­inci an­nounced that any­one cross­ing to the north would no longer be re­quired to fill out a visa form.

Dur­ing their sec­ond for­mal meet­ing on May 28, the two lead­ers an­nounced five more CBMs: to in­crease the num­ber of cross­ing points (there are cur­rently seven), start­ing with Le­fka in the west and Deryneia in the east; to in­ter­con­nect the elec­tric­ity grids; to pre­vent ra­dio fre­quency in­ter­fer­ences among ra­dio sta­tions; and agreed “on the de­sir­abil­ity” of mo­bile tele­phone in­ter­op­er­abil­ity.

They also agreed to es­tab­lish equal­ity.

Both sides have played down talk of the “big” CBMs, namely the han­dover of the un­in­hab­ited dis­trict of Varosha, the open­ing of Fa­m­a­gusta port and Er­can/Tym­bou air­port to in­ter­na­tional traf­fic and the lift­ing by Turkey of em­bar­goes on Repub­lic of Cyprus flagged air­craft and ves­sels.

“The at­mos­phere is cur­rently more pos­i­tive even than at the be­gin­ning of the talks be­tween Demetris Christofias and Mehmet Ali Talat in 2008,” the Sapi­enta re­port said.

“How­ever, there re­main a num­ber of risks to re­solv­ing the Cyprus prob­lem. Given the high lev­els of mis­trust on each side, any mis­step could quickly turn the mood sour. More­over, the main­stream me­dia are still in a gen­er­ally hard­line mode,” it con­cluded.

a com­mit­tee on gen­der

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