President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades said that on most of the issues discussed during Sunday`s talks, the two sides achieved convergences. At the same time, issues that require clarification were forwarded to the negotiators for further examination.
In remarks on his return from Nicosia Airport after today`s discussions with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the President told reporters that today they discussed the issues of citizenship, the right to a legal residence, fundamental freedoms and the right to vote.
“I must say that through a constructive discussion, it appears that there are convergences on most of the issues, and some issues need to be clarified and were forwarded to the negotiators for further examination”, the President said.
Asked if Akinci accepts the implementation of the right of settlement and acquisition of property, the President said that this was already agreed on and that is why the right to lawful residence, to exercise profession and business activities are all a fact now. “This is why I am saying there is significant progress. There are some details that need to be clarified on some issues”, he remarked.
Answering questions, President Anastasiades said there is an understanding, for example, that in acquiring property, there will be some restrictions during the transitional period as to the size of the property, residence and professional premises, one can acquire. “This is a transitional period until the Turkish Cypriot constituent state reaches the levels of the Greek Cypriot constituent state”, he said adding that these restrictions are technical and there are no limitations on the exercise of the right.
Asked if there will be quotas, the President responded negatively, adding that there are quotas for those who are entitled to vote in local elections but there will be a balance.
This arrangement, he said, applies in local elections in the government controlled areas, where for instance, in Pegia, the law provides for some restrictions so that locals will have the first say, without excluding others who want to participate in formulating policy.
President Anastasiades also said the Greek Cypriot side fully appreciates what a federation is all about, adding “I want the others to realize that some proposals do not comply with the notion of a federation when they introduce confederal elements”.
Asked how many Turkish settlers will remain in the occupied areas after a possible solution according to the formula agreed on the citizenship issue, he said that according to Civil Registry, so far 117. 545 Turkish Cypriots have acquired a passport or registered as Cypriot citizens. There is an equal number of Turkish Cypriots who have not registered. Therefore if we estimate that there is a minimum 12.5 thousand that have yet to register, this means the number might reach 130 thousand. The maximum number of Turkish settlers who are either in mixed marriages or are the result of mixed marriages, does not exceed 90 thousand. This is the same percentage as in the plan that was proposed but rejected”, he added.
Invited to comment on a statement by a political party leader that the Republic of Cyprus is in danger, the President replied “the Republic of Cyprus is in danger as long as the Cyprus problem remains unresolved”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Peace talks between Anastasiades and Akinci have been underway since May 2015, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.