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Rotating presidency and political equality ‘different things’ Anastasiades said

Photo: CNA

A rotating presidency is out of the question without discussion and concessions on other issues, President Nicos Anastasiades said in an interview with Phileleftheros on Sunday.

He said it would not be right to create conditions that would increase the concerns of the Greek Cypriots at this time, “in particular in terms of the functionality and sustainability of a federal state”.

Anastasiades, speaking days after the talks came to a complete standstill for at least two months, also said the political equality as demanded from the Turkish Cypriot side, did not necessarily mean a rotating presidency.

Political equality, he said, was expressed through equal representation in the Upper House and on other issues such as judicial or quasi-judicial matters.

He said it would be unprecedented for a majority community to be numerically equated with and represented by the minority community.

Anastasiades said many approach him and say ‘why not first close the domestic issues?’ but he said if this were to happen, there would be no incentive for the Turkish side to negotiate on security and guarantees when it came to the international aspects of the Cyprus issue.

Asked if he could conceive a system of guarantees for a specific period of time, the President replied: “Certainly yes… guarantees by the UN Security Council, the European Union…”. Turkish guarantees would not be accepted, however.

Questioned as to whether and under what conditions could the current process be saved, Anastasiades said he hoped Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership would have second thoughts about walking away from the process and that he hoped there would be movement again after the April referendum in Turkey.

In the meantime, he said it was only likely that the Turkish side would harden its positions or find more ways to avoid the Cyprus talks in order to prevent certain impressions among Turkish public opinion ahead of the vote.

After that, he hoped the dialogue would resume and that the Turkish side would come with “a real desire to work for a solution”.

Asked to comment on Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s statement that his mind is divided between the talks and the 2018 presidential elections, Anastasiades said he told Akinci repeatedly that the last thing he was thinking about were the presidential elections. “I agreed never to interrupt the talks, “he said. He declined to say whether he would run for re-election in 2018

On whether his personal relations with Akinci had been affected, Anastasiades said: “When personal attacks started that made unreasonable claims in order to leave the table, you realise that this has infected the friendly relations that had been created in the last two years. In any event, it is well known that I’m not one those people who holds a grudge.”

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