By George Psyllides
THE joint declaration signed with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community did not constitute a solution of the Cyprus problem, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday night, as he rebuffed the political forces which have voiced opposition to the document and put forth their own interpretations of the text.
“It is not the disagreement that saddens me but the repetition of references that have nothing to do with the contents of the declaration,” Anastasiades said during a news conference at the Presidential Palace.
The president suggested that the disagreement was likely due to disagreement over the form of the solution.
Government partners DIKO oppose the declaration, as do the socialists EDEK and other, marginal groups.
Main opposition AKEL and ruling DISY are backing the president.
Anastasiades said it was not his intention to argue with his detractors as he repeated his call for unity ahead of the reunification talks.
“Because it is well known that the declaration is not the final solution, but the beginning of an arduous effort to reach the reunification of our country,” he said.
He sought to dispel any concerns regarding sovereignty and other matters raised by his opponents.
The state, he said, will have a single sovereignty, single personality, and single citizenship.
One of the arguments was that sovereignty would be divided in three.
“Let me say that those pushing this position are confusing the sovereignty of the federal state with the authorities and powers, which the constitution affords the constituent states on internal matters,” Anastasiades said.
Another argument used was that the provision for separate referenda to decide whether to accept or reject any solution was also proof of separate sovereignty.
Anastasiades pointed out that it was not the first time this had happened.
Separate referenda were used in 2004 when Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected a UN plan, which was approved by Turkish Cypriots.
“I would not have accepted the start of a new round of talks if the basic principles were not satisfied,” Anastasiades said.
The president was also asked about statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu who suggested that the two constituent states would have separate sovereignty.
The states will be sovereign, he said, and this could not mean that the federal state would be one indivisible state.
However, the declaration agreed by the leaders and rubber-stamped on Tuesday, said the status of the constituent states will be “internal” and “shall complement, and not substitute in any way, the united Cyprus citizenship.”
It further says that union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession or any other unilateral change to the state of affairs will be prohibited.
It also says the two sides would seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed. “They commit to avoiding blame games or other negative public comments on the negotiations,” said the statement.
“Mr. Eroglu has a right to his views as do we,” Anastasiades said on Wednesday night.
He added that the two sides had the right to raise any issue that had not been resolved but matters considered resolved would be included in the federal constitution and could not be tabled again.
And that was where the joint declaration acted as a shield on issues like sovereignty, he said.