“Columnist Yusuf Kanli writing in Turkish daily Hurriyet Daily News (online, 19.06.11) publishes the following commentary with the above title:

“His patience running thin with slow pace of Cyprus talks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is preparing to present the two sides on the island a road map with two exit alternatives. According to sources with deep insight of the talks, the Secretary-General has prepared a five-step plan that urges the two sides on the island to walk the extra mile and establish a federal Cyprus, or face the consequences.

Sources have said that the Secretary-General, with particular encouragement from Britain and the United States, has come to the conclusion that the Cyprus talks cannot drag on forever. Furthermore, as in June 2012 Greek Cypriots will assume the EU term presidency, there is a natural timetable for the success or failure of the process.

Thus, sources said the Secretary-General anticipates to present the two leaders at the planned July 7 trilateral summit in Geneva a final road map. The road map will reportedly have two exits: An early crash-landing around the end of December or separate simultaneous referenda by the two peoples of the island the latest by the end of May 2012, a month before the Greek Cypriots assume the EU term presidency, on an agreement establishing a new federal Cyprus. Naturally, the Turkish Cypriots will demand inclusion of a clause in the text to be put to referenda saying that should Greek Cypriots vote “Oxi” (No) as they did on April 24, 2004 on the so-called Annan plan, the Turkish Cypriot state should be given international recognition. Indeed, such a wording could help the Greek Cypriots swallow the idea of political equality and sharing governance of the island on the basis of political equality.

The five steps

The Secretary-General is expected to announce the roadmap at the press conference to be held at the end of the July 7 trilateral summit. The first step of the five-step road map will be one last round of intensified negotiations on all headings. Leaders and their representatives, as well as working groups, might meet up to five times a week, go through all chapters and register the issues they agree on, as well as those points they fail to accomplish sufficient convergences.

The second step will be the reconvening of a trilateral summit, this time in New York. Though September appears to be “best” for such a summit because of Greek Cypriot fears that a trilateral summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly might lead to confusion that the U.N. recognize the equality of the non-recognized Turkish Cypriot state with the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, the last summit will be in October. At that summit a detailed analysis of the entire process will be done.

At the end of that last trilateral summit, the Secretary-General may call for an international Cyprus conference ? to be attended by the two sides on the island, Turkey, Greece and Britain, the three guarantor powers under the 1960 system, and with representatives from the European Union and the U.N. Security Council’s Permanent Members sitting on the sidelines as “observers” ? to be convened in December or in early 2012. Another option for the Secretary-General will be to declare the failure of the Cyprus talks process. If the process does not end and an international conference is decided to be convened, the target will be to complete a comprehensive agreement on the creation of a federal Cyprus with two politically equal constituent states and submit it to simultaneous referenda the latest by May 2012. That conference will be the fourth step and the simultaneous referenda will be the fifth step on the road map.

Will Turkish and Greek Cypriots walk this line? As for Turkish Cypriots I can vouch that they will do their best to achieve a settlement, but for Greek Cypriots, unless what they might lose is not shown beforehand, they will be as reluctant as ever even to consider the idea of sharing power with the Turkish Cypriots. Almost 50 years of inter-communal talks testify to this bitter reality.”

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