By Jean Christou
The negotiators of the two sides are to meet on Wednesday to draft a list of confidence building measures (CBM) that will be put to the leaders at their next meeting on May 28, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Tuesday.
“Both leaders recognise the added value that CBMs will have in parallel with the negotiation process and to serve the aim of the negotiations, which are to end the occupation and the unacceptable status quo. It is important to mention this,” Christodoulides told CyBC radio.
“So, in this context they [the leaders] have given instructions to the negotiators to prepare a single list of possible CBMs. We will start with low policy measures that can be implemented quickly without particular problems or special preparation so they can be put before the leaders at their meeting on May 28 and who will then decide which of them will be adopted.”
Christodoulides would not be drawn on what ideas might be put down on paper. The list is likely to include possibly opening five new crossing points among other ideas. Last week as a start the Turkish Cypriot side removed the need to fill out a ‘visa’ form at crossings, and the Greek Cypriot side handed over the location of 28 landmines in the Pentadactylos mountains in the north.
There has been some concern that the leaders might become bogged down in horse trading over CBMs if any involve complex legal or technical requirements that might distract from the negotiations themselves and that is why they must be simple to implement.
“So far there is nothing to say on any topic. We should respect the fact that an effort is underway for the creation of a single list. The leaders have the exclusive competence to decide on the measures. We have done our own internal preparation and I’m sure the same is being done by the Turkish side in order to make this single list,” Christodoulides said, adding that the CBMs would have to be mutually beneficial.
“They will be measures that will enhance the talks and that will help the everyday life of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots that they both want.”
The hope is that the respective negotiators, Greek Cypriot Andreas Mavroyiannis and Turkish Cypriot Ozdil Nami, will be able to come up with a single list but it will not preclude President Nicos Anastasiades or Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci from adding to it.
The leaders are due to meet on May 28 but are expected to attend a social event this coming Saturday, which Christodoulides said would not be finalised until Friday. When the talks resumed on May 15Anastasiades and Akinci agreed to meet formally twice a month for negotiations and to meet socially in between. The negotiators are due to meet more often.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, Mavroyiannis and Nami will on Wednesday also draft an outline for substantive negotiations.
Anastasiades told business leaders on Tuesday night at an AGM that there was much work ahead in achieving a solution. “We owe it to the generations to come, we owe it even to our own generation as it is our own generation which failed to close the gap between us,” he said in a comment directed at Metin Shadi, president of the Cyprus Turkish Businessmen’s Association who had also addressed the event.
“Peace is synonymous with security. And security is a prerequisite for investment and growth,” Anastasiades said. “With the Cyprus issue solved we will undoubtedly be the most stable country in our region.”