Cypriots currently have the best chance ever to reunite the island, Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis said, but the window of opportunity will not stay open for ever.
“We are trying to build a modern European society and a fully functioning democracy under a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as described in the relevant UN resolutions and this will have to be fully reconciled with EU fundamental rights and principles,” he said.
To build this common future, he added, “we need to have a Cyprus settlement and we have achieved significant progress in the negotiations without however being able to say that we have managed to tackle in a comprehensive way all the issues or even a single chapter.”
Mavroyiannis was the keynote speaker on Friday night at this year’s second meeting of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots held at at the Bi-communal Café of the Stelios Philanthropic Foundation in Nicosia.
Referring to the negotiators’ role to the peace process, he said that they had managed to create a climate of trust and confidence and to work more as partners rather than opponents.
“We might today have the best chance ever for reunifying Cyprus, so we need to take advantage of the situation and do our utmost because this situation is unique and this window of opportunity will not stay open forever,” Mavrommatis said.
The Greek Cypriot negotiator said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was trying to enforce a vision of de facto incorporation of the Turkish Cypriot community to Turkey.
He said the most important thing was to work towards making the Turkish Cypriot community part of a reunified Cyprus in a modern European society.
He said it was possible to reach a solution by the end of the year.
Asked about the property issue, he said that what was agreed between the leaders last year was that “that individuals property rights have to be recognised and are recognised and this is a very big achievement” making it clear that the recognition of rights does not entail necessarily a specific remedy.
He said the property right of the dispossessed owner is sacred but not in the sense that it was inalienable. “The property right is not inalienable, we need to be cautious of that, but it has to be respected,” he said.
Mavroyiannis said that the negotiators have more or less exhausted their own part of the job and the negotiations are slowly becoming more political.
“We all know that in order to reach a settlement we will need political decisions by the leaders. It is not easy.”