President Nicos Anastasiades on Sunday appeared to put to rest rumours of a referendum by March and a postponement of the May parliamentary elections.
In an interview with Kathimerini, Anastasiades said the elections would go ahead normally. On the issue of a referendum on a Cyprus solution, he said there were many details to be agreed yet.
“2016 could pass without a solution,” the told the newspaper but at the same time he didn’t rule out the possibility of a settlement by the summer.
“The Cyprus problem could be solved tomorrow if the other side made the necessary compromises that would not leave winners and losers,” he said.
The election of Mustafa Akinci had given momentum to the negotiations and the Turkish Cypriot leader was in favour of finding a solution but this alone was not enough to reach a consensus as yet, Anastasiades said. The barrier, he said has always been the intransigence of Turkey.
Referring to Turkey’s EU accession negotiations, Anastasiades made it clear that new chapters would not be opened if Ankara does not recognise the Republic of Cyprus.
On Saturday, UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide, speaking of his recent visit to Ankara, said the main topic of discussions with the Turkish leadership was guarantees.
The aim was to ensure long-term security for both sides, Eide said, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
He said much of his meetings recently were with the guarantor powers, Turkey, Greece and Britain, to see what common arrangment could be found. Turkey as of now, is insisting it continue to be a guarantor power but the Greek Cypriot side does not want guarantees.
The main goal of all sides is that two communities should feel safe “not only today but in the long term”, Eide said, “what we call ‘security through cooperation’ in the sense that the Turkish Cypriot side needs to feel secure as the smaller community and need to feel safe not only in the literal and military sense, but also in the political structures.”
“We want the Greek Cypriots to also feel confidence and security in this structure,’ he added.
Referring to the property issue and the extensive work done in this chapter in recent weeks, Eide said a solution would be visible on the horizon when the sides reach an agreement on this chapter, which is key to a comprehensive settlement.
Turkish Foreign Minister Melvut Cavusoglu tweeted on Sunday: “Good mtg w/UNSG’s Special Adviser on #Cyprus @EspenBarthEide on current & upcoming period of the negotiation process.”