Prop­erty off the agenda, break­through by May

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - Eide: “Ba­si­cally we know what it will look like, but it could hap­pen sooner than you think”

The prop­erty is­sue, one of the thorni­est items on the agenda to­gether with the search for and shar­ing of en­ergy resources, as well as Turkey’s EU as­pi­ra­tions, was al­ready dis­cussed at their meet­ing on Mon­day, at­tended by UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral’s Spe­cial Ad­viser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, where the two lead­ers agreed to keep their press state­ments to a min­i­mum.

At Thurs­day’s meet­ing, Anas­tasi­ades and Akinci are ex­pected to touch upon the two sides’ dis­agree­ments, with a view to elim­i­nat­ing them or at least achiev­ing con­ver­gences as the two ne­go­tia­tors, An­dreas Mavroyian­nis and Odzil Nami, will fo­cus their at­ten­tion on the prop­erty cri­te­ria. The prop­erty is­sue will be dis­cussed again dur­ing the next meet­ing on Novem­ber 18.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Anas­tasi­ades said he hoped that the UN-led ne­go­ti­a­tions will bear fruit be­fore the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions next May.

Speak­ing at the Econ­o­mist con­fer­ence in Ni­cosia, Anas­tasi­ades said that Cyprus is an ex­am­ple of a suc­cess­ful eco­nomic re­form. He said that a set­tle­ment will serve as a cat­a­lyst for eco­nomic growth, with great ben­e­fits in im­por­tant fields of the econ­omy, and will con­sti­tute “the most im­por­tant re­form for de­vel­op­ment that we can achieve.”

“I want to be­lieve that Turkey will recog­nise this prospect and will con­trib­ute to ef­forts for a set­tle­ment,” he added.

Speak­ing at the same con­fer­ence, Espen Barth Eide said that a so­lu­tion is “within reach” though hard work is still needed and stressed that all sides need to think about the eco­nom­ics of the set­tle­ment and re­ally reap all the op­por­tu­ni­ties which is not go­ing to hap­pen au­to­mat­i­cally.

He pointed out that “ba­si­cally we know what it (the type of set­tle­ment) will look like, but you need to pre­pare for be­cause it could ac­tu­ally hap­pen sooner than you think.”

Re­ply­ing to a ques­tion on the role of out­siders in Cyprus and that if they press too hard it could be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, Eide said that “we need to be acutely aware of that.” He re­it­er­ated that the on­go­ing Cyprus re­uni­fi­ca­tion process is leader-led. It is done in Cyprus, not in some chateau in Switzer­land, he pointed out.

“I of­ten hear about the UN bring­ing to the ta­ble bridg­ing ideas,” he said, adding that “I don’t have to be­cause this is very well done.”

Eide said that “over time the so­lu­tion will pay for it­self”. In the long run, he noted, there will be more growth and more money to dis­trib­ute, adding that “we need to pre­pare for po­ten­tial growth.” The UN of­fi­cial stressed the need for the fed­eral state to have a busi­ness friendly cli­mate, mod­ern in­sti­tu­tions, com­pet­i­tive, strong, flex­i­ble, adapt­able and ready to fos­ter in­no­va­tion. A high de­gree of adapt­abil­ity is needed, he said.

“I think it is well un­der­stood that we do not lose sight of th­ese is­sues as we look to solve the po­lit­i­cal as­pects,” he added.

At the same time both Cyprus Cham­ber of Com­merce and Industry (KEVE) Pres­i­dent Phidias Pilides and Turk­ish Cypriot Cham­ber of Com­merce (KTTO) Pres­i­dent Fikri Toros re­it­er­ated their com­mit­ment to help­ing the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion process and as­serted that a so­lu­tion will not just be for the ben­e­fit of busi­ness­men but of Cypri­ots as a whole.

On his part, Pelides said that a fair, func­tional and vi­able so­lu­tion will gen­er­ate huge ben­e­fits in tourism, ship­ping, con­struc­tion, real es­tate and agri­cul­ture, while the im­por­tance of Cyprus as an in­ter­na­tional busi­ness cen­tre will in­crease even fur­ther through the im­prove­ment of the in­vest­ment cli­mate and at­tract­ing for­eign in­vest­ments, while al­low­ing Cyprus to reach out to presently un­ex­ploited mar­kets across the world, in­clud­ing of course the vast Turk­ish mar­ket.

“The al­ter­na­tive will be to the detri­ment of both com­mu­ni­ties on the is­land but also the wider area in the re­gion en­com­pass­ing Greece and Turkey.”

Toros called on the two lead­ers to “demon­strate true, coura­geous lead­er­ship” and to solve mat­ters such as the in­ter­con­nec­tion of the mobile phone net­works. We need to make this vi­sion reach­able, he said, and ex­pressed his con­cerns over the “risks and con­se­quences of yet an­other failed at­tempt.” Toros also spoke of the need for the timely in­volve­ment of the pri­vate sec­tor.

He said that so far, the two cham­bers have pro­duced a num­ber of doc­u­men­taries, they have launched bi­com­mu­nal in­tern­ship progammes and startup projects.

On her part Miriam Sapiro former US trade rep­re­sen­ta­tive and now of the Brook­ings In­sti­tu­tion spoke of her ex­pe­ri­ence in the set­tle­ment process in Bos­nia and high­lighted the fact that “there is no per­fect so­lu­tion be­cause ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment in­volves com­pro­mise.” In the event of a so­lu­tion she said that the eco­nomic ben­e­fits for Cyprus could be quite sig­nif­i­cant for both sides.

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