By Stefanos Evripidou
THE GREEK Cypriot negotiator in the peace talks, Andreas Mavroyiannis, yesterday made it clear in no uncertain terms that the two leaders will not meet before agreement is reached on the substance and methodology of the talks process.
Speaking to state broadcaster CyBC, Mavroyiannis said on substance, the Greek Cypriot negotiating team needs confirmation of the basis of the talks, and the desired outcome.
“What is the content of the solution we are seeking at least in terms of basic principles?”
Regarding procedure, the methodology must be such that negotiators could finally start correlating all issues on the table.
The method of approaching matters in sequential order could no longer be accepted as it led to discussing subjects that only Turkey wanted to discuss while ignoring others.
“We have reached a stage where all important issues are put to one side with everyone saying we’ll leave them to the end. This is not possible. We need to finally take an approach where we can correlate the issues, because this is the only way we can enter into a give-and-take procedure, with each issue interlinked with the other.
“We need to look at them holistically, in their entirety and comprehensively so we can proceed swiftly,” said Mavroyiannis.
Turkish Cypriot negotiator Osman Ertug has argued that the insistence on a joint declaration is setting preconditions to the start of talks while the Turkish Cypriots are ready to begin without preconditions.
Mavroyiannis confirmed that while in Brussels today, President Nicos Anastasiades would discuss with the Presidents of the European Commission and Council how exactly the EU could enhance its involvement in the process.
Simply having a commission representative assigned to the UN Good Offices should not be the be all and end all of the EU’s involvement.
“The EU’s involvement needs to be much wider. It is not necessary to seek Turkey’s permission for the EU to show interest in Cyprus,” he said.
Regarding the agreement to send the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot negotiators to Ankara and Athens respectively, Mavroyiannis said the aim is to have informal meetings of substance, which should not be a one-off.
The former deputy minister of European affairs refused to be drawn into press reports that he met with Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami three times in ten days.
Nami was quoted by Turkish Cypriot daily Kibris saying that the meetings were of a ‘social’ nature, so the two could get to know each other.
Nami belongs to the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) which currently shares power with the Democratic Party in the north.
Former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat recently highlighted the election to power of CTP as a positive step towards a solution, hinting that the pro-solution party would temper the more hardline approach of his successor Dervis Eroglu.