President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have different approaches on how to broach the matter of security and guarantees, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Monday.
While Anastasiades wants the two leaders to reach an agreement before conveying it to Turkey, Akinci wants it discussed and decided at a broad conference with the guarantor powers that would finalise any deal.
“Anastasiades’ stance is the chapter of security and guarantees will first need to be discussed between the two communities, agreed and then be presented during a multilateral conference,” which would include guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey and the UK – Christodoulides said.
Over the weekend, reports emerged that Akinci believed there could be more progress on the four topics being discussed – governance, property, the EU and economy – and by July a new round of negotiations could begin on territory – which would have the guarantor powers at the table.
His proposal is “begin with territory. Then to a five party discussion with the participation of the guarantor powers on the matters of guarantees and security and preferably, we’ll be done with that and begin the procedure for a referendum.”
But Christodoulides said this was a well-known position of the Turkish Cypriot side expressed in the past that the Greek Cypriot side was opposed because territory for them is closely linked to property.
“Depending on the results in the negotiations on the six chapters and when we will be in range of a solution, a multilateral and not a five-party conference can be held, which will abolish the current unacceptable system of guarantees”, he added.
Akinci was quoted as saying “if we have a common approach on territory and security-guarantees, we can have a referendum this year.”
While he said there was significant progress on four of the six chapters he said property and guarantors would be discussed in the end.
“If we discuss these two chapters with today’s procedure then everything we discuss will be published in the Greek Cypriot press the next day because there are quick and unnecessary leaks to the Greek Cypriot press, sometimes in excess.”
Parties didn’t take long to react with DIKO saying Anastasiades was negotiating on Turkish terms and would do better to inform the public as to what was going on.
AKEL commented that news the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to begin discussing territory could be interpreted in two ways – that there was significant progress in property or the other side of the negotiating table realised that without proper discussion on territory it would be difficult to reach convergence on property.
The Citizens Alliance questioned how the developments could guarantee the continuation of the Republic of Cyprus and stressed that a five-part conference would be the death of the Republic, while Green Party was taken by surprise by Akinci’s “proposal to change the way of negotiations” and his comments on a five-party conference, saying it undermined the joint statement the Turkish Cypriot leader had made with Anastasiades a day before, marking the first anniversary of the current round of talks.
The five-party conference would mean a recognition of the pseudo state, EDEK said, while the Solidarity Movement expressed its negative stance, saying a solution would need the approval of Cyprus’ public.
The next meeting of the two leaders is scheduled for May 27.