The Cyprus negotiations are at decisive turning point and if the coming meetings with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci deliver what is expected, there is cause for cautious optimism, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Sunday.
Speaking at a memorial service for EOKA fighters in Yeri, Anastasiades said: The results so far on the table allow us to be cautiously optimistic. If subsequent meetings with Mr Akinci deliver what we expect, then we will be able to more confidently talk about a positive outcome to this long negotiation process.”
Anastasiades and Akinci are engaged in an intensive round due to end on September 14 that will determine how the negotiations will move forward and whether there will be a joint meeting of the leaders in New York with the UN Secretary-General and a subsequent five-party meeting with the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and Britain. Though the Turkish side is pushing for both, Anastasiades has refused to commit, saying it depended on progress until the.
“The negotiation process for the solution of our national problem is a decisive turning point,” the president said. “The results so far on the table allow us to be cautiously optimistic.”
He said that as agreed with Akinci, the content of their discussions would not be made public before September 14 in order not to jeopardise the climate.
However the political party leaders would be briefed on the content of the meetings by him before he leaves for New York for the general assembly on around September 17. They were also free to peruse the negotiations documents at the presidential palace, he added.
“I will not make reference to two essential chapters on territorial adjustments and guarantees,” he said. “Our positions are well known.”
In response to questions after the event, Anastasiades said what counted for him was what the Greek Cypriot side put on the negotiating table and not what the other side sought to achieve. “I will deal with what Mr Akinci says within the negotiations. It is what we are putting forward as the Greek Cypriot side that counts for me and not what other community seeks to achieve.”
Asked about his reference to optimism during his address he added: “Did you hear someone speak of optimism, or for cautious optimism? That depends on what will be agreed for the remaining chapters.”
In his earlier address, Anastasiades said the status quo could not “be our future”.
“What today is considered stability is nothing more than an ephemeral stability because we see how fluid the situation in the world is, and particularly in our region,” he said, adding that time was a factor “that unfortunately works to the detriment of all of us”, both sides.
“My own belief is that we have reached the fullness of time to put an end to years of tensions and insecurity, to shake hands and lead our country to peace process, security, stability and prosperity.”
Anastasiades asked whether there was any other way said to recover territory or restitution or to prevent the annexation of the occupied areas by Turkey, to secure human rights and safeguard the four freedoms, with full implementation of the EU acquis.
“Similar concerns have to be addressed by our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, who should ponder what will be their benefits from the termination of this situation. They have to realise that only through a mutually agreed solution will they be able to stand as an equal in the international community. Only through the solution will achieve financial independence,” he said, adding at the same time they have to realise their security cannot be a threat to the Greek Cypriot community.
He also reiterated that the people would have the last word in the acceptance or rejection of any solution.
“The initial positions to the negotiating table do not mean they will be the final position. Mutual concessions will be made by both sides in order to respect the concerns of and not affect the interests of the other,” Anastasiades concluded.