The heads of four political parties, Disy’s Averof Neophytou, Akel general -secretary Andros Kyprianou, and the leaders of the Republican Turkish Party and the Communal Democracy Party in the north, Tufan Erhürman and Cemal Özyiğit respectively, have expressed their support for a federal Cyprus settlement.
All four were keynote speakers at a bicommunal discussion organised on Tuesday evening by the Bicommunal Peace Initiative – United Cyprus, titled ‘Reunification through federation – rebuilding a peaceful future for Cyprus’.
Neophytou said that without political equality and the effective participation of Turkish Cypriots, a solution could not be achieved, and expressed his support for a proposal put forward by President Nicos Anastasiades for the decentralisation of authorities, with the central government maintaining as many as needed to secure a state entity.
He noted that a strong federation in his opinion would guarantee a single international identity, a single sovereignty and citizenship, a single economy and currency, the four fundamental freedoms, a single exclusive economic zone and a single air space. Everything else, Neophytou said, would have to be discussed.
Neophytou also referred to issues of security and said the concerns of both communities would have to be taken into consideration, adding that, as a member of the EU, foreign guarantees had no place.
Kyprianou called on Anastasiades to clarify which powers of the central government would be transferred to the constituent states, saying that his party did not oppose a decentralised federation as a principle. The question was, he said, which powers and authorities would be transferred from the central government to the constituent states.
He warned that if the aim of a federation was abandoned, the majority of Greek Cypriot parties would be demanding a unified state, while the majority of the Turkish Cypriot parties would be seeking two states, “and the door to division would subsequently be wide open”.
Erhürman said political equality safeguarded a functional system and noted that if this was agreed, then the system would be strong.
Regarding the issue of hydrocarbons, Erhürman said that specific measures must be taken to ensure that the natural resources acted as a catalyst for a solution and reiterated his position that if the Greek Cypriot side pursued its efforts in this field, there would be conflict.
He said the two communities should share the natural resources and pointed out that a solution was attainable and what was needed was determination and political will.
Özyiğit said a solution should be in line with the framework presented by UN Secretary-General António Guterres, noting that the problem with a loose federation was that the two sides interpreted it differently.
Özyiğit also said there could be a conflict over the hydrocarbons, which could also affect Cyprus. For this reason, he said, there should be a single exclusive economic zone and thus effective participation and a single vote should be discussed.
Head of the European Commission delegation in Cyprus Ierotheos Papadopoulos said that Cyprus’ accession to the EU was the best guarantee for the safe, peaceful and prosperous coexistence of all Cypriots.