Progress in October will determine outcome of talks on territorial chapter, guarantees
President Nicos Anastasiades, described as productive his meeting on Tuesday, with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mustafa Akinci, their first in an “intensified process” of ten meetings this month.
In his remarks to reporters, following his return to the Presidential Palace, the President said that his meeting with Akinci was “productive because it gave us the opportunity to go through the chapters one by one, to look at the existing differences, so that October will be the month of intensive deliberations. And the intensification of the dialogue has already been agreed; there will be about nine and possibly ten meetings so that we will achieve the maximum possible convergence on existing differences.” Anastasiades said that “if, afterwards, there is such progress that will make it feasible, we will proceed to another stage, that of the discussion of the fifth chapter regarding the territorial readjustments, with one possibility that this meeting, due to the reservations and concerns of Mr Akinci, will take place in another country. In such a case, the members of the National Council will be accompanying me so that there will be a direct and collective approach to the issue that we will be addressing.”
He added that “if on the territorial issue as well there is progress that will make it feasible, then possibly we will proceed to the next stage which will be the convening of a multilateral conference that will deal with the issues of Guarantees. All these depend on the presumption that progress is made on whatever will be discussed.”
Asked whether the issue of Security and Guarantees will be discussed in Cyprus as well, the President said that “a brainstorming can take place but more important is the concentration on the existing differences so that there will be, at the maximum possible, convergences which will allow us to proceed to the fifth chapter (issue), and which Property.”
Invited to comment on Akinci’s stance following New York and considering the recent statements by the Turkish Cypriot leader the President stated that “I will not comment, as I have not commented until now on any interviews. What I register is his determination, based on what I have described, to jointly proceed in order to achieve, if possible before the end of 2016, a political solution, a comprehensive solution provided that the Turkish Cypriot side, but also the Turkish side with regard to whatever concerns it, will demonstrate the good will which everyone expects from those who declare that they desire the final solution to the Cyprus problem.”
In statements in Athens later in the day, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said that the people of Cyprus will judge the final outcome of the solution to the Cyprus problem, if and when it is achieved.
He also said the people will be urged to that is the is always Territorial related to decide in a responsible manner if a solution that is proposed meets their expectations and priorities.
Speaking in the Greek capital during an event to mark the independence of the Republic of Cyprus, Kasoulides said that one thing is for sure that President Nicos Anastasiades will not, as he repeatedly stated, bring the people before a solution that he does not believe satisfies their expectations.
He also said that the only thing that can be presented to the people is a comprehensive solution proposal that responds to the concerns, expectations and hopes of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and can be implemented from day one of the agreement.
Kasoulides said the current situation, “the status quo, cannot in any way, be a vision for the future of our country and I am sure it was not the vision of those who gave their lives for our freedom”.
He said that time is a factor “that unfortunately is working against us, and we need to rid of the occupation and Turkish troops and reunite our homeland”.
Kasoulides said negotiations are at a critical junction and said that if the next meetings between Anastasiades and Akinci “yield the results we are anticipating, then we will be able to talk with more certainty about a positive outcome of this longstanding negotiating procedure”.
Even though the results of the negotiations allow us to maintain a reserved optimism, he said negotiations have not concluded and if all that has been agreed is not put down on paper as convergences and anything else is agreed, then we cannot talk about a solution.
Kasoulides said that sufficient progress has been achieved on the issues of governance, economy, the EU and although a lot of work has been done on the property issue, issues of fundamental significance are still pending.
He also said that the territorial issue and the issue of guarantees remain open, noting the “former is closely associated with the issue of property and is essential to achieve progress on this issue if we are to overcome the obstacles on the property issue”.
Kasoulides also said that security is the “most important element, in my opinion and will determine the successful conclusion of the negotiation. Any system of guarantees agreed, should fully respect the concerns of both communities, he said.
“We believe the security of both communities is safeguarded through a federal state with complete respect to the political equality, its bizonal and bicommunal nature, with unimpeded exercise of authority from the two constituent states, the productive participation of the Turkish Cypriot community in decision taking at a federal level as well as Cyprus’ membership to the EU”.