By Angelos Anastasiou
A solution to the Cyprus problem could be reached within 2016, Turkish Premier Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday, on the sidelines of a one-hour meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron.
According to sources cited by the Cyprus News Agency, Davutoglu planned to propose a five-party summit regarding guarantees in Cyprus during the meeting.
The sources added that Davutoglu relayed Ankara’s desire for such a meeting to be called as soon as possible between the United Kingdom, Turkey, Greece, and the two communities in Cyprus with a view to finalising negotiations by spring-time, so that simultaneous referenda can then be held on the island.
The Cyprus problem, the CNA said, featured prominently on the agenda at the two men’s meeting, with British government officials having repeatedly expressed “reserved optimism” over the successful outcome of ongoing negotiations for a settlement to the Cyprus problem.
A five-party summit over guarantees to the republic’s independence, which the Greek Cypriot side want abolished and Turkish Cypriots maintained post-solution, is a non-starter for the Greek Cypriots, as they believe the participation of Mustafa Akinci, elected leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, would relegate Nicos Anastasiades, president of the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, to community leader status.
Of the three guarantor nations, Greece has sided with the Greek Cypriots in that guarantees are outdated and should be scrapped, while Britain has repeatedly expressed willingness to go along with any arrangement is agreed by the parties on the ground – i.e. the two communities.
With regard to the prospect of withdrawing Turkish troops from Cyprus, Davutoglu was expected to counter that this is but one isolated aspect of the Cyprus discussion, and that Ankara wishes to discuss a comprehensive settlement.
On Tuesday, Davutoglu is scheduled to arrive at Davos, Switzerland, for the annual World Economic Forum.
Also attending are Anastasiades, Akinci, Cameron and Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras, sparking some press speculation over possible back-channel diplomacy, or even an unofficial five-party summit.
The rumours were dispelled last week by UN facilitator of the Cyprus talks, Espen Barth Eide.