Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, noting that it was necessary to have commitment to the agreement reached in December between the two leaders regarding the participants in the multilateral conference to be held in Geneva on January 12.
In his letter Akinci said the two sides agreed to participate in negotiations from 9 until January 11 and on January 12 would sit down with the three guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and Britain to discuss security and guarantees.
However, Akinci in his letter, said President Nicos Anastasiades had sent a letter to the UN Secretary-General, saying he would be representing both the Greek Cypriot community and the Republic of Cyprus, which the Turkish Cypriot leader described as unacceptable.
Akinci noted in his letter that he too was “an elected president” but that both he and Anastasiades would be in Geneva as community leaders, adding that the two sides should respect the long-standing practice under which the talks have been held.
He added that Cyprus was at an historic crossroads and that political will and commitment were essential to make the most of the opportunity.
The dispute centres on the status of the Republic. The Greek Cypriot side is presenting a settlement as the evolving of the RoC into a new federal state whereas the Turkish Cypriots see two community leaders signing on for a federation. The legal aspect revolves around the fact that the Treaty of Guarantee was signed by the RoC in 1960, which is behind the call for the RoC to be represented at the talks.
Under pressure domestically over the status of the Republic in the multilateral conference, Anastasiades announced earlier in the week that he would be representing both the RoC, and the Greek Cypriot community at the talks.
Asked if that meant it would be a six-party and not a five-party conference he said the latter, as per the agreement of the leaders on December 1.