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Cyprus Talks

EDEK leader: present talks little more than another Annan plan

EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos

Making good on his earlier promise, EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos on Monday released more details of recent National Council minutes relating to the Cyprus reunification talks, positing that the convergences reached by President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are virtually identical to the UN-brokered plan which Greek Cypriots overwhelmingly rejected in 2004.

In a statement, Sizopoulos accused the president of walking back his pre-election pledge not to renegotiate the 2004 Annan plan, as it was then known, and of betraying the trust of Greek Cypriots.

“In other words, we are proving that the settlement plan being discussed by Mr Anastasiades is identical to the plan which was rejected by the Cypriot people in 2004.

“Mr Anastasiades and the leaderships of DISY and AKEL, who support his Cyprus policy, have demonstrably, systematically and methodically misinformed the Cypriot people on how the talks have been progressing thus far.”

Sizopoulos reiterated that what drove him to the revelations is to shed light on the talks, whereas the administration is seeking to keep the public in the dark.

The EDEK leader furnished a three-page list juxtaposing provisions of the Annan plan to the Anastasiades-Akinci convergences.

Under the Annan plan, the constituent states would exercise sovereignty on all the powers not vested by the constitution to the federal government – a model that smacked of a confederation, not a federal system, he argued.

Likewise, said Sizopoulos, the Anastasiades-Eroglu joint communique of February 11, 2014, states that the constituent states will be vested with all the powers not delegated to the federal government, and will exercise those powers without interference from the federal government.

Another point concerns the jurisdictions of the constituent states, which under the Annan plan would be able to separately strike up trade and cultural agreements with the outside world. The current talks slightly amend this point, noting that the constituent states can enter into agreements (cultural, education, religious and trade) with countries with which the Republic of Cyprus maintains diplomatic relations.

With regard to the Constitutional Court to be formed in a reunited Cyprus, Sizopoulos said the Annan plan provided for an equal number of judges from each of the constituent states, plus three non-Cypriot judges.

By comparison, National Council minutes reveal that Anastasiades and Akinci have agreed – as opposed to having compromised, Sizopoulos stressed – that the Constitutional Court would comprise four Greek Cypriot and four Turkish Cypriot judges, whereas on constitutional matters a foreign judge would preside and have the casting vote in the case of a tie.

On the property commission, Sizopoulos observed that the Annan plan stipulated an equal number of members from each constituent state as well as one non-Cypriot member; the National Council minutes show that the commission is to comprise 10 teams, each consisting of one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot, and one foreign expert chairing.

Staying on property, Sizopoulos’ list cites the Annan plan, which stated that the claims of owners would be resolved in a comprehensive manner according to international law, respect for the individual rights of owners who have been deprived of possession, and respect for the rights of current users and the principle of bizonality.

In addition, under the Annan plan, for areas not subject to territorial re-adjustment, arrangements for exercising property rights would be based on restitution or compensation.

By comparison, according to the National Council minutes, the rights of legal owners are recognised, as are the rights of current users, provided the latter are “citizens of the breakaway regime and have had the property in their possession for a time period greater than five years as of the date of the signing of the agreement.

The Anastasiades-Akinci convergences, as presented by Sizopoulos, also lay out the criteria to be taken into account by the property commission in assigning priority over a property, such as the value of the property and the ‘emotional factor.’ Modes of redress include restitution, in whole or in part, exchange, compensation or a combination thereof.

The EDEK boss wondered why he was being subjected to an intense attack for disclosing National Council details when his same detractors argue that his revelations amount to nothing new.

If their objective was to misinform, to silence criticism of the ongoing talks, or to keep the people in the dark, “they are deluding themselves,” he asserted.

The government had earlier accused Sizopoulos of cherry-picking what to leak from the National Council in a bid to present a distorted picture of the talks.

Sizopoulos is the first politician to break the National Council’s confidentiality protocol when he revealed details of the discussions earlier this month. He had called a news conference, where he read out excerpts from two National Council sessions , which took place on September 5 and December 8.

Critics of Sizopoulos might counter that the Annan plan and the current talks were bound to have similarities, although the debate might then shift to how far the points he has cited constitute a core difference between the two peace processes.

 



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