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Security tops agenda in make or break week

File photo: Antonio Guterres, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci at Crans Montana (CNA)

By Evie Andreou

 

The delegations participating in the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana were hard at work on Sunday, preparing their proposals on security and guarantees, which will be presented on Monday.

The negotiations, which took a break today, resume on Monday when the sides are expected to submit written proposals in response to two questions, regarding security and guarantees, asked by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who chaired the negotiations on Friday.

Guterres, asked each side to submit proposals on a new security system and on a mechanism that would oversee the implementation of the settlement.

Media speculation abounded. Cyprus News Agency quoted unnamed sources as saying the discussion on security and guarantees yielded no results so far.

Sigmalive said the Greek Cypriot side’s proposal on security envisaged internal mechanisms dealing with conflict resolution and the abolition of the 1960 treaty of guarantee. Nicosia also reportedly proposed the establishment of a committee, in which none of the guarantor powers would be represented, to oversee the implementation of the settlement solution.

Meanwhile, party leaders, who had kept unusually quiet since arriving in Switzerland, began tweeting and posting their views on social media, after Saturday evening’s national council meeting. The main issue they dealt with was the four freedoms Turkey was demanding for its nationals in post-solution Cyprus.

The four freedoms was a red line for President Anastasiades, but on Thursday a Turkish news agency reported that the matter had been resolved with the agreement of the EU Vice President Frans Timmermans, who was at the talks as an observer. The report was not confirmed, indicating the Greek Cypriot side still had reservations about the matter.

After Anastasiades’ briefing about the negotiations, Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos tweeted that Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias had said Greek parliament would not approve the issue of the four freedoms. “Once more Greece remains true to its principles,” Papadopoulos tweeted on Sunday.

MEP and leader of the Solidarity Movement, Eleni Theocharous, who is not in Crans Montana, said on her Facebook account that at the conference in Geneva in January, the Greek Cypriot side agreed to rotating presidency in exchange for the Turkish Cypriot side presenting maps. At this conference, “they (the Turks) are taking the four freedoms, for an interim agreement”.

This seemed pure conjecture as Anastasiades had said in his last interview before departing for Switzerland that an interim agreement was out of the question. “Nothing will be agreed until everything is agreed,” he said.

Meanwhile Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who had avoided all public comments since arriving in Switzerland, also went on the record, issuing a written statement. Akinci said that next week would be one for decisions. It would be a very important week for the future of Cyprus and of the region and his aim was a better future for the generations to come.

Following Saturday’s meetings, UNSG Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide said that the essential elements of a package that may lead to a comprehensive settlement had emerged from the working dinner Guterres held on Friday night and attended by all participants. The procedure was entering in a systematic process of negotiations.

The conference is expected to finish on Friday. Turkish officials expressed the view that an agreement could be reached by then. Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that if an agreement was on the cards he would be in Crans-Montana within four hours of being summoned.

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