Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides on Friday rejected reports in Turkish mainland newspaper Milliyet that President Nicos Anastasiades positively viewed a proposal that Turkey be a guarantor power only for the north following a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
According to Milliyet, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci suggested a system of guarantees under a solution that would see Turkey as a guarantor power for the north of the island only.
The same sources said Anastasiades responded that he would view this positively as long as there would be no Turkish troops left on the island. This was categorically denied by Christodoulides.
The issues of guarantees and securities have not been discussed at the negotiations table yet, he said.
“The content of the article isn’t in any way true, especially the references made to President Anastasiades,” he said. “Our position as regards guarantees is known, we cannot in 2016 talk of guarantees for an EU member state,” Christodoulides said. “Our capacity alone as an EU-member state is a strong safety net. At the same time the provisions and the content of the settlement agreement, will be the best guarantee”.
This position, he said, “is known and understood by the international community”.
Commenting on whether the issue had been proposed by Akinci, he reiterated that it was not discussed at the negotiations table.
Everyone knows, he said, that security and guarantees will be discussed at the end of the negotiation process.
Milliyet, according to CNA, was citing sources in the UN. Akinci reportedly said that in the past the two communities had lived in a mixed fashion all over the island but now Turkish Cypriots had congregated in the north so guarantees would not be needed for the southern part of the island.
According to Milliyet, the proposal was received positively by the UN and had been on the agenda during the last visit by senior US official Victoria Nuland, who the paper said had taken a tough stance in line with the Greek Cypriot positions, supporting the notion of security for both sides but not a guarantee system.
Nuland also reportedly insisted on the withdrawal of all Turkish troops from Cyprus and asked for a timetable on this. Akinci reportedly insisted that the presence of the Turkish army should continue until Turkey joins the EU, and that Turkish Cypriots needed Turkey to be a guarantor.
Christodoulides said that he was in no position to know what Akinci and Nuland discussed, but that when Anastasiades discussed the guarantors issue with the members of the international community, and all the members of the UN Security Council, his position was clear.
“An EU member state, such as the Republic of Cyprus, […] cannot in 2016 have as guarantors third countries,” he said.
He also denied claims made in another article Milliyet wrote, citing a report of the World Bank saying that the cost of the solution would be around €23bn.
The studies in question, Christodoulides said, have not been completed yet.
Christodoulides rejected the Milliyet report that Nuland had asked Anastasiades to discontinue all of the energy plans of the Republic until the end of 2016.
“The Republic’s energy plans proceed smoothly. There will be developments within the summer. We are closely cooperating with neighbouring states so that the energy sector becomes the basis for further cooperation”.
“I cannot think of what such false reports aim to achieve […] two consecutive reports not corresponding to reality, cannot be a random thing,” he said.
At the moment, he said, the two leaders were discussing the EU chapters, economy, governance and property.
Security and guarantees will be discussed after these four chapters are closed, he said, followed by the issue on territory, “which is the most important aspect of the Cyprus problems and is directly linked with the property issue”.
“Afterwards, we will discuss in Cyprus between us security and guarantees, as it concerns the Cypriot people, and no one else”.
“All chapters of the Cyprus issue are important to us. I hear some people say that the issue of governance does not interest the Greek Cypriot side. But at the same time we all agree that the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus following a solution is very important,”
AKEL leader Andros Kyprianou, told CyBC, that it was “unthinkable” that part of a united island would be under a system of guarantees and called on Anastasiades to assemble the National Council.