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CYPRUS: Leaders to present maps; UN to keep in vault

11 January, 2017

* Anastasiades and Akinci continue on governance, EU and economy *

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the territorial aspect during the ongoing talks in Geneva and the two sides are expected to exchange maps for the first time.


 
The outcome of the meeting will also determine if and how they will proceed with the conference on Thursday, where the guarantor powers of Greece, Turkey and Britain are also to take part, but not yet clear at what level.
A news report from Turkey’s Anadolu agency suggested that the two maps will be kept at a United Nations vault and will be seen only by the two leaders, two experts on the territorial and map issues and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative Espen Barth Eide.
Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters on Tuesday that there is a co-understanding between the leaders as regards the percentage of the territory of the constituent states.
Anastasiades and Akinci had a meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss pending issues of governance, the EU and the economy, where they were briefed by their respective negotiators, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami, on the outcome of a meeting that the two sides’ experts on governance had in the afternoon. On the property issue, the teams had a lengthy meeting with officials from the World Bank and the IMF, Enrique Carrol and Vincenso Cuzzo.
Also present was the European Commission’s representative to the UN Good Offices Mission in Cyprus Pieter Van Nuffel, as certain aspects of these issues have to do with the EU.
Earlier in the evening, Anastasiades and Akinci had a private meeting with UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, without members of their negotiating teams.
On Tuesday morning, the two leadersdiscussed four pending issues on governance, including the participation and the decision making process for the federal institutions and the amendment of the constitution. The Turkish Cypriot side insists on concluding the matter of a rotating presidency prior to any further bargaining, while the Greek Cypriot side rejects it at this stage, saying it should be agreed within a wider agreement.
A Greek Cypriot source was quoted as saying that the issues being discussed were “very difficult”, adding however that there are prospects for progress in one of the aforementioned issues, while others are more difficult.
Of concern are the Turkish Cypriots’ effective participation which is related to the chapter of governance and the treatment of Turkish Cypriots, Turkish settlers and citizens from third countries as regards the property issue. On the latter, there is disagreement between the Turkish Cypriot and the Greek Cypriot sides as the latter believes that these three categories of people should be addressed on a different basis. If this issue is settled, then 80% of the property issues will have been solved, the same source has indicated.
As regards the issue of the international Conference on Security and the Guarantees that will begin in Geneva on Thursday, the Cyprus News Agency quoted as source as saying that as things stand right now there will be a representation at Foreign Ministers level.
The same source also said that during his meeting with the National Council on Monday evening, President Anastasiades said that he had on Monday afternoon a very good and constructive discussion with Akinci on the security and guarantee issue and that the intention is to address concerns being raised.
Spokesman Christodoulides said there are prospects for further convergences between the positions of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot side, however there are also issues on which there are difficulties and disagreements.
The spokesman said that President Anastasiades had a long telephone conversation with the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who informed him about the telephone conversations he had with foreign leaders with regard to the Thursday’s conference.
Reports from Athens said Tsipras spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande on developments in the talks. Earlier, he briefed Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos who reiterated that there can be no discount concerning Cyprus’ sovereignty because this would mean a direct violation of international and European law. Greece and Cyprus are not willing to accept such setbacks, he said.
Meanwhile, a platform of 135 Greek and Turkish Cypriot organisation held a rally in support of the two leaders’ efforts to reach a solution in Geneva, with some holding placards saying “Nicos and Mustafa, come back with a solution” and “Yes to the future, solution now.”
This follows similar calls of support by the bicommunal committee of trade unions, while the Nicosia Economic Forum, comprised of the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KEVE), the Turkish Cypriot Chamber of Commerce (KTTO), the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB) and the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UHCCI), said that “there are numerous studies on the economic benefits of the solution for the Cyprus issue and a settlement will boost the economic potential in the region too, through the cooperation of the economic actors of the respective countries. Furthermore, a functional and viable settlement will transform the island into a nucleus of stability in the eastern Mediterranean area.”