2017 can be year of ‘peace and resolution,’ says Turkish Cypriot leader
NICOSIADays before a five-party conference in Geneva to solve the long-running Cyprus issue, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı has expressed hoped that 2017 could be a year of peace and resolution.
“As the Turkish Cypriot side that will be heading off to Geneva, we are always acting coherently,” said Akıncı on Dec. 29 during a meeting with members of the local press in Nicosia. “2017 can be made a year of peace and resolution,” he added.
Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, will meet in Switzerland’s Geneva on Dec. 9, in order to relaunch a series of excessive negotiations to solve the more than 40-year-old Cyprus problem, after two rounds of talks in Geneva’s Mont Pelerin in November ended without result.
On Dec. 1, Anastasiades and Akıncı agreed to resume reunification talks under the auspices of the United Nations. This announcement came after mounting international pressure for the leaders to pick up where they left off in an effort to reach a deal as soon as possible.
The leaders will meet for a final push in Geneva on Jan. 9 and Jan. 11, 2017, having agreed to present maps of their respective proposals for the internal boundaries of a future federation.
From Jan. 12, a five-party conference on Cyprus is to be convened with the added participation of the guarantor powers of Turkey, Greece and Britain.
Akıncı said efforts in 2016 to find a peaceful solution to the crisis were stepped up, while adding that it was not certain how the peace talks next month would conclude.
“We are not in a position to know today how these meetings will result. We are travelling to Geneva with the will and determination to form a structure that rests upon a bi-zonal, bi-communal form based on the two state’s political equality,” he added.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops intervened in the north of the island in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.
Akıncı said that if a result is achieved in Geneva it would mean the emergence of a political framework, which would need to be filled.
Noting that “the last miles are always the hardest,” he said they were aware of difficulties and outstanding issues to be resolved.
Anastasiades and Akıncı have been among the most outspoken proponents of a deal, and any agreement they reach will have to be approved by their respective communities in referendums.