The self-evident critical stage on the Cyprus problem demands that the President of the Republic and the political forces make every possible effort to focus on our just assertions at the negotiating table, but also towards the international community. With realism as regards our possibilities, but above all sticking to long-standing principles, as well as showing mutual respect to different opinions.

Not by chance the chapter on guarantees and security is considered as one of the most difficult chapters. On the one hand because the respective concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots must be met. The concerns of the Greek Cypriots as victims of Turkish aggression and barbarity refer to the 1960’s and 1974, with the illegal occupation having completed 42 years. The Turkish Cypriot’s concerns as victims of the devastating nationalism/chauvinism of a section of the Greek Cypriots refer to the 1960’s, but also earlier.

On the other hand the chapter on the issue of guarantees and security represents one of the most difficult chapters because Turkey must abandon any demands for guarantees over the Republic of Cyprus, as these were provided for in the outdated by now, but also due to the realities of a given and illegal 1960 system of guarantees from the point of view of International Law.

The Greek Cypriot community has set out clearly, I believe, our position on the issue of guarantees and security. The unanimous decisions of the National Council both of 1989 and the 2009 Joint Statement set as a fundamental prerequisite the full withdrawal of the Turkish troops and the demilitarization of Cyprus. Quite correctly, the former President of the Republic D. Christofias pursued as the Greek Cypriot’s official policy for assertion the position that the Republic of Cyprus, a full member state of the international community, the UN and the EU, does not need guarantees; a position which we expect the current President of the Republic will also adhere to till the end, particularly when this position is now the official policy of the Government of Greece.

Successive AKEL Congress decisions have reaffirmed these aforementioned principled positions, while at a meeting held on 16th September 2016, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of AKEL stressed that in the event there would be a conclusion at the talks AKEL would back its final position, inter alia, based on the long-standing position for the “withdrawal of the Turkish occupation troops, the abolition of the anachronistic 1960 system of guarantees, as well as the abolition of any rights of unilateral intervention. AKEL rejects a NATO solution to the issue of security.” President Anastasiades, but also the international community, knows this position very well.

The discussion of this thorny chapter (at least officially) will happen if and provided that the existing obstacles on the property and territorial issue are overcome because despite our desire for a solution unfortunately the Turkish side is adopting a rigid and intransigent stand. Right now however the important thing is that we, the Greek Cypriots know what we want. And – of course – we have no illusions. It is clear that the unanimity around the objective of the transformation of the unitary (but partitioned) state of 1960 into a bicommunal, bizonal Federation has ceased to exist, without of course the existence of a plan B, except that of a rejected and despicable partition.

We remain committed to the agreed framework because it represents the only realistic prospect for the liberation and reunification of our country and people. That is why we support the procedure of the negotiations, without giving a blank cheque to the President of the Republic. A lot could be said about the President’s decisions and behaviour during the recent past, but this is not the time to do so. Now is the time of responsibility, to support the position of our community and the time to assert a just and viable solution; a solution that will safeguard human rights and fundamental freedoms for our people as a whole.

Guarantees and security

Article by Aristos Damianou, member of the Political Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL

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