Cyprus Mail

So near, and yet so far – Leaders disagree over CBMs

By Constantinos Psillides

THE leaders of the island’s two communities appear to be nowhere near an agreement on the Cyprus problem, since they failed to agree on confidence building measures (CBMs) proposed by both sides during Monday’s meeting in the UN protected zone in the area of the old Nicosia airport.

Both sides came to the meeting with a number of suggestions on CBMs, but failed to agree on any of them, leaving the final decision for their next meeting on July 24.

CBMs proposed by the Turkish Cypriot side were rejected because they were aimed at upgrading the break-away state, according to CyBC, while the Turkish Cypriot side objected to returning Varosha, which was top of the Greek Cypriot’s side list.

In statements he made to the press upon returning, the Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu added that his side wanted to open a new crossing point at Lefka, in the northeast of the island.

Failure to negotiate wasn’t just limited to CBMs.

Eroglu submitted a five-point roadmap in the negotiations, explaining that it will lead to a result and that the Turkish Cypriot side wanted to conclude the negotiations successfully, which will be put to a referendum so that a new state is created the next day.

The road map was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side. CyBC cited an unnamed diplomatic source claiming that President Nicos Anastasiades told Eroglu that the Cyprus problem can be solved with honest intent to reach a result and not timetables. CyBC further reported that Eroglu told Anastasiades that a non-solution suits him, only to have the president respond that he didn’t build his political career on the Cyprus problem.

The two leaders also failed to reach an agreement on a proposal put forward by Anastastiades, asking for a document to be drafted outlining the issues where both sides agree, where they disagree and where they are close to an agreement.

CyBC reported that Eroglu said that the issues agreed upon have already been written down, to which Anastasiades responded by presenting a 19-point document detailing how Eroglu’s position has shifted in some key elements, including citizenship, immigration, the public sector and the state’s foreign relations.

The two negotiators, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Kudret Ozersay were tasked with discussing the proposals put forth by both sides, along with the CBMs lists.

Τhe leaders did agree, however, to jointly visit the anthropological laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) on July 24, before their meeting on the same day, according to the United Nations.

This was announced by UNSG Special representative Lisa Buttenheim, after Monday’s meeting in the UN protected zone near the old Nicosia airport.

The visit had been agreed last Friday without setting a date.

Noting the leaders met “in a positive and friendly atmosphere”, Buttenheim said that “the leaders instructed their negotiators to conduct an additional special meeting on the issue of confidence building measures, and also on the methodology and the way forward, based on the proposals submitted by both sides, with a view to preparing suggestions for the next leaders meeting.”

The CMP is a bi-communal body established in 1981 by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with the participation of the United Nations.

Following the establishment of an agreed list of missing persons, the CMP’s objective is to recover, identify, and return to their families, the remains of 2001 persons — 502 Turkish Cypriots and 1,493 Greek Cypriots — who went missing during inter-communal strife in the 1960s and the 1974 Turkish invasion.

The CMP employs a bi-communal forensic team of more than 60 Cypriot archaeologists, anthropologists and geneticists, who conduct excavations throughout the island and anthropological and genetic analyses of remains at the CMP anthropological laboratory.

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