The ultimate objective in New York next month is to have a five-party meeting with the guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has said.
He also said that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu would be in Cyprus in the coming week.
CNA, citing Turkish Cypriot newspaper Kibris Postasi, said that if the next six meetings with President Nicos Anastasiades achieved the necessary progress, the next step for the leaders would be a joint meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, followed by a five-party conference with he guarantor powers.
Anastasiades and Akinci last Tuesday began an intensive period of talks to bridge gaps on four chapters and for the first time to put guarantees on the table. The Greek Cypriot side does not want any guarantor powers, least of all Turkey, involved post-settlement but the Turkish Cypriots say there cannot be a solution without some sort of Turkish presence.
Akinci, according to CNA, said the Turkish Cypriots need some sort of guarantee. “However if you want a solution, you cannot say you will never discuss this,” he said.
“Our people feel the need for safeguards. We see this and our people reflect this. The importance of Turkey for the Turkish Cypriots is very clear. We are talking about the only country that has supported the Turkish Cypriots for years.”
The UK, he added, was not interested in being a guarantor power and only wanted to secure the status of the British bases. Greece also might not want to be a guarantor but is intrinsically linked to the Greek Cypriots.
The coming three or four months were crucial, Akinci said. The Turkish Cypriot leader has repeatedly said that if 2016 closes without a deal, come 2017, there would be more potential risks to reaching a settlement such as the looming presidential elections in 2018, which he fears would distract and influence Anastasiades.
“Certainly there is no one hundred per cent guarantee of that. But we see very clearly that there is this possibility,” he said. “To this end we will continue to work.”
On the New York trip later next month following the end of the current consultations on September 14 and an expected joint statement by the leaders. Akinici said the ultimate goal is a five-party conference since the guarantor powers will be in one place as well as the two sides. The Greek Cypriot side has said that no joint meeting with Ban could take place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly sessions as Anastasiades would be in New York as a head of state and not the Greek Cypriot leader.
Akinci said that if there were enough convergences in the upcoming six meetings it would open the way for both the meeting with Ban and the five-party confernece.
“This is the goal in New York where the three guarantor powers will be and I hope the Greek Cypriot side is ready for this because I believe that from now on such an opportunity will not be easy to come by,” he said. Reports in the past week from the north said Akinci had invited the heads of the Turkish Cypriot political parties to New York in case of a multilateral conference.
Akinci also said that if the current effort fails or goes to separate referenda and still fails, it would not be the end of the world.
“We will certainly continue our own way. This is not the desire or wish but if it happens we cannot do anything else,” he said.
“At the moment we walk the path of the solution. This process is the last effort of our generation and quite possibly could be the last effort for a federal solution, for a federal Cyprus “.