Cyprus Mail

Leaders meet as Eide says differences ‘narrowing every day’

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were meeting on Friday to continue negotiations on the core issues of the Cyprus problem.

It is the second time this week the leaders met. On Wednesday they both spoke of their vision for a federal Cyprus at an event organised by the chambers of commerce from both sides.

On Thursday night UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide, who was on the island all week to join the negotiators during their meetings ahead of Friday’s talks, said that Anastasiades and Akinci were fully in agreement about the European Union character of a federal Cyprus after a solution.

Eide, who was speaking at an event at the Centre of Visual Arts & Research (CVAR) in old Nicosia, said he hoped that very soon an EU special representative would be named, who with a small team would help the process on the application of the acquis communautaire in the entire island.

He also spoke of the federal structure of the state that would evolve out of an eventual agreement, noting that what was being sought in the negotiating process was that “we end up with a genuine federal structure in which there are two constituent states with clear powers, with clear competences, clearly defined but in something which is a federal structure, not a confederal structure”.

“We are working exactly in that direction because that is the direction the leaders want to go with”, he said.
Eide highlighted the fact that “there was a full 100 per cent agreement about the European Union character of that state”. “Not 50 per cent, not 90 per cent, not 95 per cent but 100 per cent,” he said.

“This means that European principles will apply throughout which means that the European acquis is essential not only in theory but in practice”. The full state must be able to work as a well functioning European Union member with all that this implies, he said.
Replying to a question on Turkey, Eide said he strongly felt that Ankara wanted a solution and that it supported the process. He recognised however that there were some issues “of an international nature” to do with Cyprus which had yet to be tackled.

The UN Envoy reiterated the leaders` determination as regards the confidence building measure, which have been announced and said there were complex issues or even technical ones which needed to be resolved.

Replying specifically to a question on the fenced–off city of Varosha, Eide said: “Please remember our main focus is to solve the Cyprus problem. Once that is resolved then everything else will follow.”

Referring to a new Cyprus constitution, Eide said it should deal with Cyprus’ unique characteristics and not be copied from elsewhere. He cited the fact that there are two communities and an issue political equality but also said it should respect the numerical difference between them.

The constitution should be a 21st century, modern constitution, Eide said, and spoke of the need to have strong, solid institutions, which could deliver decisions.

Commenting on his growing optimism, Eide said he feels that every day differences were narrowing.

It was also the first time when three ingredients were present in the Cyprus talks “genuine trust, genuine will and leadership”. The two sides, he said had changed their attitude from defending their positions to an attitude of solving problems together.

At the same time he urged Cypriots to support, engage, express their opinion, even to criticise all the aspects to do with the solution. (CNA)

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