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Leaked info from National Council outlines talks’ status

Information leaked to the Greek-language media following Saturday’s National Council meeting suggests that President Nicos Anastasiades told the party leaders to prepare for the possibility of postponing the May parliamentary elections for several months.

According to Politis, which on Sunday published details of the current stage of the Cyprus negotiations, party leaders were told to prepare for dramatic developments within a short space of time.

Until the National Council meeting, the intensive negotiations last month between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had been kept under wraps from the political parties so that the talks would not become a media circus.

However DIKO leader Nicolas Papadopoulos for one, said after Saturday’s meeting that what he had heard meant in his view, the complete dissolution of the Cyprus Republic. The other rejectionist parties were equally unhappy. House President Yiannakis Omirou said on Sunday he did not see much grounds for optimism. The leader, he said had not even begun the debate on fundamental aspects such as the withdrawal of  Turkish troops, removal of the settlers,  and the elimination of guarantees.

“The euphoria is not justified,” he said of the positive messages coming from the leaders and the UN. ” This emits a wrong signal that there is movement of the Turkish positions and thus prevents pressure on Turkey to abandon its standing intransigence.”

Politis said the image it had been presented with from various sources attending the National Council meeting was that some chapters under discussion between the leaders were almost closed such as economy, governance and EU, though the issue of rotating presidency was still pending for the final give and take phase.

Property and territory also remain unresolved. It said the Greek Cypriot side wanted the territory provided for under the 2004 Annan plan map, which would include the return of Morphou, Varosha and the buffer zone areas.

Politis said that on property, a total of 23 categories for return, compensation or exchanges, had been agreed through the formation of a property commission. In the event of a dispute, the commission would take into consideration the legitimate owner and how long they had the property before 1974, how long the user has been living it and whether they were Turkish Cypriot, Turkish settler, or a foreigner.

On the issue of guarantees – the Greek Cypriots want none, Turkish Cypriots do – this was to remain off the table until discussions were to be held with the guarantor powers, Turkey, Greece and the UK. It is well known that the latter two countries are willing to give up their guarantor rights. The Greek Cypriots say the UN Security Council should be the means to oversee implementation of the solution as it has the power to intervene if necessary.

On governance it has been agreed, the report said, that at a federal level there would be a senate comprising 20 members from each of the two communities and a lower house with 36 Greek Cypriots and 12 Turkish Cypriots while each constituent state would have its own local parliament.

The Supreme Court would have equal numbers and the only outstanding disagreement there was a deadlock as regards the resolution mechanism. Only on constitutional issues would a foreign judge be invited to participate who must be neither Greek, Turkish, nor British.

Foreign policy and international agreements would be the sole responsibility of the federal state. The constituent states would be allowed to enter into agreements but only in matters of education, culture and sports, under certain federal approval mechanisms.

On citizenship and population the ratio agreed is 78.5% to 21.5%, ie 803,000 Greek Cypriots and 220,000 Turkish Cypriots, Politis said, including the 30,000 Turkish Cypriots estimated to be currently living abroad and a number of settlers with current ‘citizenship’.

Other mainland Turks who work in the north would be given residence cards and work permits with a remote possibility of citizenship in the future.

It has also been agreed that the transitional periods will be as short as possible with the immediate return of Varosha, and the federal institutions need to be ready to start work ‘the day after’, the report said.

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