Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said on Monday that a referendum on a Cyprus settlement could be held in the summer if the negotiation process does not suffer from any major stumbling blocks.
The new state of affairs following a settlement solution, however, would not be signed by the Republic of Cyprus (RoC), but by the newly-established federal Cyprus, he said.
Akinci informed members of the press in the north on the latest developments, and the upcoming talks next month in Geneva in an event organised by the Turkish Cypriot Journalists Association.
Addressing the contradictory statements from the two sides as regards the talks in Geneva where a multi-party conference is to take place, Akinci said that the agreement reached on December 1 with President Nicos Anastasiades was very clear; the two sides will be at the negotiation table between January 9 and 11 and the next day the three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey, the UK – will also join the meeting.
He added that there had been no decision regarding the participation of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council at the meeting and that there was also no need for their involvement. The Greek Cypriot side has invited all five permanent members of the UN Security Council to participate at the multi-party conference where security and guarantees will be discussed, while President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has expressed his readiness to attend.
Commenting on the December 1 agreement text, Akinci said, that it was clear. “There will be no one around the table except the two sides and the three guarantor powers.”
He added that while there are more than 100 issues in the Cyprus negotiations, there are eight to 10 chapters that are the most important, and that most of the complexities and divergences are sourced from these chapters.
Akinci also said that it was the newly-established United Federal Cyprus that would sign the settlement agreement and not the RoC.
The Turkish Cypriot leader’s statements follow those of the Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides’, who reiterated last week that it would be a multilateral and not a five-party meeting consisting of the two sides and guarantor powers Britain, Turkey, and Greece, and that raising such issues in public discourse was not helpful. Along with the EU, the US has said it would attend if invited by the UN.
Christodoulides was referring to hardline parties, which claim that the Republic will be absent from the meeting, meaning a victory for Turkey. They also want all five permanent members of the UN Security Council to attend. This would include Russia, China and France along with the US and UK.
“There is no question of the Republic of Cyprus not being represented,” the spokesman had said. The meeting “will discuss an international treaty in which the RoC is party. Roc will be present. No decisions can be made on the particular issue without the RoC.”