Cyprus talks resume in 'friendly atmosphere'

Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades express determination to resume structured negotiations in a results-oriented manner.

Cyprus talks resume in 'friendly atmosphere'
World Bulletin / News Desk
 
Peace talks between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to resolve a 40-year-old political dispute on the divided island have resumed in a "friendly and cordial atmosphere," says the head of the United Nations mission in Cyprus.

Lisa Buttenheim - reading from a joint declaration on the path towards reunification on Tuesday - told journalists that Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades had expressed their determination to resume structured negotiations in a results-oriented manner. 

"A settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, respecting democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as each other’s distinct identity and integrity and ensuring their common future in a united Cyprus within the EU," she said.

Both leaders agree that the status quo is unacceptable, its prolongation will have negative consequences for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and expressed determination to resume structured negotiations in a results-oriented manner, added Buttenheim.

The leaders of the two countries met in the United Nations-controlled buffer zone on the island to thrash out an agreement which the UN hopes will lead to equal status for the two states, while aiming to bring the divided communities closer under a federated government.

The island has been divided into Greek and Turkish sides since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.

A 2004 deal put forward by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities was defeated by a "no" vote in a referendum held in the Greek Cypriot administration. The Turkish Cypriots had voted in favor of the Annan plan. Intermittent talks have since been inconclusive due to political and economic reasons.

Since 1974, talks between the two sides continued with different aims and formulas, until 18 months ago, when the Greek Cypriot side assumed the 2012 EU rotating presidency and the eurozone debt crisis struck the economy. 

"A settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, respecting democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as each other’s distinct identity and integrity and ensuring their common future in a united Cyprus within the EU," said Buttenheim.

"The settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements," she said.

"The united Cyprus, as a member of the UN and of the EU, shall have a single, international legal personality and a single sovereignty... there will be a single united Cyprus citizenship."

The declaration further said that any dispute will be adjudicated by a Federal Supreme Court, adding: "Neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction over the other."

Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami on Monday stressed the importance of approaching the talks "in good faith."

"If we can draw lessons from the past and show a commitment to reach a federal solution, referendums on both sides for a comprehensive plan could become a reality as a result of the negotiation process," he said, adding that a succesful solution could take "months, not years."

The Greek Cypriot side has asked Turkish Cypriots to implement an additional protocol that requires Turkey to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot administration's ships and airplanes and to reopen Maras to Greek settlement. 

Maras was abandoned in 1974, and Turkey has since barred admittance to anyone but its military.

In return, Greece proposes to unblock eight chapters in Turkey's EU accession talks.

The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the EU and recognized internationally except by Turkey, while the Turkish Cypriot side is only recognized by Turkey. 

Greece expressed support for the renewed talks on Friday, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras describing the discussions as "one of the leading priorities of Greek foreign policy."

The EU has also expressed support over the relaunched talks, congratulating "the courage" the two leaders have shown in agreeing to them.

Last Mod: 12 Şubat 2014, 09:32
Add Comment