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‘There can be no velvet divorce for Cyprus’

Andreas Mavroyiannis

There can be no velvet divorce-type solution for Cyprus as the results of the Turkish invasion and occupation are not negated by their legalisation, negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis has said.

In an interview with the Athens News Agency published on Saturday, Mavroyiannis said that the “passion” of the Greek Cypriot side is the freedom and reunification of the country and of its people “into a normal European society.”

The Greek Cypriot negotiator said that talks of a ‘velvet divorce’ in Cyprus is “another covert Turkish approach, which is euphemistically presented as attractive, painless, mutually desirable and profitable.”

The Greek Cypriot side, he said, “neither contemplates nor discusses such terms.”

“The effects of the invasion and occupation are not negated by their legitimacy and our people will not be vindicated by the waiving of their rights, the future is not ensured by the embellishment of the problems,” Mavroyiannis said.

He added that he disagrees with the position of the Turkish side that the current negotiations procedure cannot yield any results.

“I see this as yet more proof of lack of political will by the Turkish side for a settlement solution,” Mavroyiannis said.

It is true however, he added, that this procedure cannot be fruitful without the contribution of the Turkish side, “thus, what Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots declare are nothing but self-fulfilling prophecies.”

He said that he was in no position to know whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan truly wants a mutually accepted solution and if he would be ready to compromise.

File photo: Cyprus, Greek and Turkish leaders and ministers pose with Guterres

“What I do know is that Turkey’s shift is necessary for a settlement solution and what I assess is that Mr Erdogan may, if he so decides, make the appropriate concessions.”

Mavroyiannis also said that there is still a long way to go as regards properties which, he said, was a very difficult and complex issue.

“It is about respecting and restoring the rights of our displaced persons, it is also related to the right of return.” The ideas of the UN Secretary-General give some orientation, but they do not aspire to substitute the work to be done, he said.

“The point is to agree on the proper remedies for each particular case, as close as possible to the wishes and choices of the owner and try to provide them with the institutional framework to claim their notion of just satisfaction without substituting them,” Mavroyiannis said.

On territory, Mavroyiannis said that even though the map presented by the Turkish Cypriots during the talks in Switzerland in January 2017 was a positive step, it did not respond to the criteria set by the Greek Cypriot side and did not include “areas whose return is considered to be necessary by our side.”

It is fortunate however, he said, that one of the six points of the UN Secretary-General’s package, “explicitly asks the Turkish Cypriot side to further improve its proposal by adding additional areas to the territorial readjustments.

He also said that “unfortunately” there was too much focus on the ‘Guterres Framework’ on which the two sides had entered a prolonged debate earlier in the year as to which document each side had perceived as such and what its provisions were.

The six points of the UNSG, he said, were not a document but an oral outline of ideas and thoughts which as a whole constituted a political proposal to negotiate with a view to reaching a strategic agreement.

“The problem started with the a la carte approach of the Turkish Cypriot side, which more or less, claimed that the framework gives them what they wanted to get without themselves committing to anything, as well as their suggestion for signing the framework as a strategic agreement.”

Both points, he said, contradict the spirit and logic of the UN Secretary General’s political approach.

“The logic that governs his framework and the concept of the package, and the six points that constitute it, as they have been progressively clarified, are not offered either for evasion or for endless discussions.”

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