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President briefs EU leaders

European Council Summit in Brussels: Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt

By George Psyllides

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades took the opportunity yesterday in Brussels to brief EU leaders about the latest developments on the Cyprus talks and managed to have a dig at Turkey during discussions on EU-NATO relations.

During the EU summit Anastasiades took full advantage of a remark made by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen who spoke of problems in EU-NATO relations. Rasmussen, who joined the EU leaders for the talks, said he saw no contradiction between a stronger European defence and a strong NATO.

He urged Europeans to act to strengthen their defence, warning: “Unless we recommit to our own defence we risk seeing America disengage and Europe and America drift apart.”

On being asked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to clarify some of his statements, Rasmussen replied that he was referring not to only to military problems but rather political problems arising partly due to the Cyprus dispute with Turkey.

Anastasiades, who spoke immediately after Merkel, took the opportunity to elaborate on the issue of Cyprus-Turkey relations and in particular Turkey’s refusal to work with Cyprus on any level.

The President also outlined the latest developments on Cyprus as well as ongoing efforts to secure a joint declaration from the two communities that would pave the way to peace talks.
Anastasiades reiterated his ‘strong desire’ for a solution.

Meanwhile in Nicosia British High Commissioner Matthew Kidd yesterday urged the island’s divided communities not to abandon efforts to strike a deal on the joint declaration, seen as pivotal for the start of negotiations to reunify the island.

“Like everyone else, we also want to see the joint declaration finalised,” Kidd told reporters after meeting AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou.

The British diplomat said it was important that all parties remained calm and not give up the effort.

It would be better if a deal was achieved on the joint declaration before the start of talks, Kidd said.

The two sides have been bogged down over the wording of the joint declaration.

AKEL chief Andros Kyprianou suggested that the Greek Cypriot side had entered a procedure that led nowhere.

“Around 40 drafts have been exchanged so far and not only the basis has not been clarified, as Mr Anastasiades wanted initially, but on the contrary we are behind, in relation with the (former president Demetris) Christofias – (former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali ) Talat joint declarations and the convergences achieved,” Kyprianou said.

Christofias and Talat agreed on single sovereignty in a joint statement but only in principle and subject to negotiation.

Ankara, at that point, had not come on board, and neither in practice had Talat.

AKEL will wait for the president’s decisions and then decide how to handle the issue, he added.

“If he decided to go to dialogue we will help him tackle any ambiguities in the text, which is before him at this moment,” Kyprianou said.

Anastasiades initially argued for a joint declaration to precede fully-fledged negotiations so as to clarify once and for all the positions of the Turkish Cypriots and Ankara on a future reunified state, particularly whether they agree to it having a single international personality, citizenship and sovereignty.

The latter word is subject to numerous interpretations as it contains various facets, relating to the sovereignty of the state, the state’s source of legitimacy; but also, who, in this reunified state, gets to call the shots.

The latest draft of the declaration submitted by the Greek Cypriots addresses its concerns over sovereignty.

According to the draft, “the united Cyprus, as a member of the United Nations and of the European Union, shall have a single international legal personality and a single sovereignty, which is defined as the sovereignty which is enjoyed by all Member States of the United Nations under the UN Charter and which emanates from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots together (instead of equally).”

It said: “Any dispute in respect thereof will be adjudicated finally by the Federal Supreme Court. Neither constituent state may purport to have sovereignty and neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.”

The Turkish proposal stated that neither constituent state could impose its sovereignty on the other, implying that the two states were sovereign.

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