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Squaring the circle after Geneva

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By Achilleas Demetriades

The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, salvaged the process after failing to reach adequate common ground in Geneva.

He did not give up and thus afforded what is perhaps the last chance for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to live in peace and security together.

He rightly pointed out to Mr Ersin Tatar that the “two-state solution” is not part of his UN mandate.

But the difficult and complicated part begins now:

  • The European Council in Brussels in June is on the horizon. The Report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council and Resolution for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate is in July. One should also not forget that the Secretary-General has to fight for re-election.
  • One achieves results if one utilises the particular time frame. The “Six Points” of the Guterres framework present a serious and balanced basis for the parties to reach an agreed solution. The cross-negotiation on these could bring about the desired result.
  • Unfortunately, we missed the boat in Crans-Montana, and now we are asking for the resumption of talks from where they had stopped. Why then did we leave in the first place? Since 2017, we had not utilised the time well, especially when Mustafa Akinci was the leader of the Turkish Cypriot Community.
  • The Secretary-General is giving the parties one more chance for consultation. I am afraid that with the same logic and approach, we will not reach the common ground required to start the negotiation process.
  • There are no magical solutions. It is in the interest of Cyprus to tag along with the European interests and thus contribute to the common European policies. The Cyprus problem is not an isolated matter in the middle of the ocean. It also affects, for example, relations between Greece and Turkey. It pays Cyprus to follow the positive European agenda with Turkey and work towards stability in the region.
  • The resolution of the Cyprus problem should follow the progress of relations between the EU and Turkey. Cyprus has every interest to utilise this process, claiming whatever benefit it can from the forthcoming European Council.  Thus, the EU will safeguard the security and implementation of a solution, along with the UN and European Human Rights. It will essentially guarantee the security and well-being of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who (after all) deserve to live in peace and prosperity together, as the Secretary-General has pointed out.

Since it now appears that we have accepted the “Six Points” framework, we must be focused and act diligently to find common ground within the UNSC mandate.

We should not miss this opportunity for a federal solution to the Cyprus problem within the EU.

As the Secretary-General, very wisely, pointed out, “…to square the circle is an impossibility in geometry, but it is very common in politics”.

 

Achilleas Demetriades is an advocate and partner, Lellos P. Demetriades Law Office LLC www.ldlaw.com.cy