Wednesday 27 July, 2016 – Friday’s talks for a settlement to the Cyprus problem will deal with more contentious issues, the Cyprus Mail reports.
President Mustatold reporters after Tuesday’s meeting between himself and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, that they had focused on internal security and administrative powers.
He added that convergences were achieved during the meeting, but declined to say in which areas, and announced that Friday’s session would see discussion begin on issues of “significant importance, including territorial adjustments, security, and guarantees”.
“Naturally, it will be a kick-off meeting, a brainstorming session to see what each side aims at and whether mutual understandings are possible,” the president said.
Asked whether maps may be presented by either side on Friday, Anastasiades said “not likely, but I wouldn’t rule it out”.
He added that abandoning the ‘2016 milestone’ – relating to the absence of any reference to a solution by the end of 2016 in the United Nations Security Council report on the peacekeeping force in Cyprus – was a matter of “facing the realities, and not on what we would like to see”.
“What I want to stress is the constant progress on a range of issues,” said Anastasiades, who announced last week that “very little or nothing at all” remained to be done on the legislative and judiciary powers, and reported “significant progress” on the executive.
“However, I am unable to offer a note of optimism unless difficulties facing us on the issue of either properties, which might be helped by progress on territory, or security and guarantees.”
Shortly afterwards lTurkish Premier Binai Yildirim issued a warning to Greek Cypriots that this was the last chance to grasp an agreement.
Anastasiades responded later Tuesday, during a speech at the conference of overseas Cypriots, saying he was saddened that the positive climate in the talks was poisoned by such statements.
Anastasiades added that if Yildirim really wanted a state that would even support Turkey’s prospects and goals, Ankara should contribute towards achieving a solution as soon as possible.
“It would be to their benefit, to the benefit of the Turkish Cypriots, the benefit of the Greek Cypriots, the benefit of Europe, it would be to the benefit of peace in the region in general.”
“I must say that, through dialogue, the concerns of each community are being understood better, and improvements and progress are achieved through the creative contribution of each side,” Anastasiades said.
Anastasiades was once again the object of harsh criticism over his handling of the talks by opposition parties, with DIKO accusing him of engaging in “secret diplomacy”.
“We don’t want to wake up to a settlement that will resurrect the [2004 UN-brokered] Annan plan, that will allow Turkey a say and a role in post-solution Cyprus,” DIKO said in a statement.
“For the millionth time, we call on President Anastasiades to call a meeting of the National Council, share the documents of the negotiations, and inform the public.”
Socialist EDEK acknowledged that talks are entering the give-and-take phase – a long-standing demand of theirs – which they claimed are the only ones in which the Greek Cypriot side has things to gain.
“These chapters, including the departure of settlers and the occupying army, should have been discussed from the beginning, in the context of cross-chapter negotiations,” the party complained.
“If the President had kept his promises for a give-and-take process, we would not have come to the point where our side has given in to the Turkish side’s demands without its commensurate concessions.”
The Citizens’ Alliance asked Anastasiades to inform the political leadership on everything he has agreed to.
“Why has the President not informed either the political leadership or the public, but has merely been stalling with the National Council’s rules of operation?” the party asked.
“The Cyprus problem is a national matter, which is why we forcefully ask for the real and honest briefing on the talks and everything the President has agreed to with the Turkish side.”
The Greens extended a challenge to the Turkish side, saying it expects “positive moves” in the next phase of negotiations.
“Now that the talks are entering the crucial terrain of territory, security, and guarantees, and positive moves will be required from the occupied areas, it will be seen whether they truly desire a viable solution based on the principles of the United Nations and the European Union,” the party said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Premier Yildirim was quoted by Reuters as saying that Turkey wants UN-backed reunification talks on Cyprus to continue, but warned that this round of negotiations was the last chance for Greek Cypriots to reach a deal.
“The Turkish Cypriot side has, with full sincerity, acted constructively,” Yildirim told a joint news conference with the prime minister of the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state, Huseyin Ozgurgun.
“This is the last chance for the Greek Cypriot side, which has always acted as the game spoiler. We recommend they use this chance wisely,” Yildirim added.
This sparked further reaction from EDEK, which said that these remarks prove that Turkey wants to fully incorporate Cyprus into the Turkish territories.
“This effort is confirmed by the systematic actions for the complete dependence of the occupied areas on Turkey, whether it be via the transportation of water, the presence of Turkish troops, or imposing a political line on Turkish Cypriots,” EDEK said.
“We hope and wish that the President will consent to the upgrading of the National Council and the carving out of a joint national policy, aiming at addressing Turkish challenges and demands.”