Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has stressed that an agreement and significant progress have been achieved on the issues discussed during today’s meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Moustafa Akinci, in the context of the UN-led peace talks.
In statements to the press after the meeting, President Anastasiades said that they had a productive discussion during which they discussed the issues of effective participation in a federal Cyprus and the decision making process in various committees as well as quotas.
He said they discussed the issue of an EU Joint Committee and how decisions will be taken “so that the state will function effectively and will be able to take timely decisions with its participation in the EU.”
The President said they also discussed matters relating to the composition and the operation of the police force both at the federal and the constituent states level. “I must say that there was an agreement,” he added.
He clarified that some specific aspects which still remain pending have been forwarded to the negotiators of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities so that an overall agreement is reached “on what I have referred to”.
Asked to clarify his statement about an agreement, President said that significant progress has been achieved on the issues of effective participation and decision making process in the various state bodies, Committees and Regulatory Authorities.
He added that significant progress has been achieved regarding the EU Joint Committee which will deal with the issues related to the wider European policy followed by the state so that there will be no gaps.
Asked when will they start the discussion on territory and if they will travel abroad to discuss this issue, the President said that “we still have several meetings in Cyprus”, adding that “at the end of the day we will find out where we are heading to and if some new meetings need to take place in November in order for us to be even more effective with the chapters we are examining, then it will be decided when and how the discussion on territory will be carried out.”
Asked if initiatives on the external aspects of the Cyprus problem are expected by other countries, the President said that it seems that there is interest showed by some permanent members of the UN Security Council, which is certainly welcome.
He noted that the Greek Cypriot side would welcome any effort to intervene in such matters, in response to a well justified request by the Greek Cypriot side, provided such moves do not affect the security of the Turkish Cypriots.
Asked about Thursday`s meeting with US Assistant Secretary of State and if he is more optimistic, the President said “do not be disappointed,” adding that a brainstorming took place during her contacts.
Invited to comment on statements made by some political parties urging him to convene the National Council, he said that he will brief the members of the National Council (top advisory body on the Cyprus problem) when the time comes about the progress he is referring to in this statements. He said that this is something he cannot do right now due to his many obligations.
Asked what he and Akinci will discuss at their new meeting on Sunday, Anastasiades said that the issues of citizenship and freedoms will be on the agenda of the upcoming meeting.
Invited to say if major obstacles still remain regarding the three chapters which are being discussed right now, the President said that “we will exhaust all possibilities to find a solution, provided that Turkey responds positively to chapters in which it plays a leading role.”
Asked about the issue of internal security, the President referred to a proposal he submitted at the negotiating table to refute claims that Turkey`s guarantees or Turkey`s presence on the island are necessary.
He said that his proposal provides for a multinational police or an increased command of the peacekeeping force to avert or even eliminate risks which supposedly may be arise.
Asked if he is ready to discuss this proposal at the talks, the President said “always within the parameters set out, taking into account the basic principles and requirements.”
He stressed that there can be no justification for putting forward the position that the Turkish military must have a presence in Cyprus and that Ankara must retain its right as a guarantor power, when the other two guarantor powers (Greece and Britain) have said they are ready to relinquish this right, in an agreement for a federal Cyprus.
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.