Cyprus leaders decide to resume talks, new negotiations set for January
NICOSIAThe Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders have agreed to immediately resume reunification talks, the United Nations stated on Dec. 2, with the five-party summit that Turkish Cyprus has long been waiting for set to start on Jan. 12, 2017.
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades came to the decision while meeting for a dinner at the head of mission’s residence in the U.N. Protected Area (UNPA) under the auspices of Espen Barth Eide, the U.N. secretary-general’s special advisor to Cyprus.
“The leaders have decided to immediately re-engage in their negotiations and have instructed their negotiators to continue meeting in order to achieve further progress on all outstanding issues interdependently,” the U.N. said in a statement.
The U.N. said teams of negotiators from either side will step up meetings in Cyprus ahead of the Geneva summit to mark further progress on other issues that remain unresolved. The leaders will meet as necessary.
According to the statement, the sides will meet in Geneva on Jan. 9, 2017 to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.
“On Jan. 11, they will present their respective maps,” it read.
“From the Jan. 12, a Conference on Cyprus will be convened with the added participation of the guarantor powers. Other relevant parties shall be invited as needed,” the statement added.
Akıncı and Anastasiades met under U.N.-led efforts to find a peaceful solution to the more-than 40-year-old conflict in Mont Pelerin for two rounds of intensified talks in November.
The thorniest issue for the leaders to agree upon was the territorial adjustments needed for an anticipated two-state federation. However, the two leaders could not reach an agreement and the talks ended without producing a common understanding for a peace deal.
If a deal could have been reached on territorial changes in Mont Pelerin, negotiators were expected to announce a date for a final summit between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders and the three guarantor states involved in the process: Turkey, Greece, and the U.K.
That meeting would focus on territorial aspects of the deal, as well as guarantorship and security, particularly the presence of 30,000 Turkish troops that remain on the island after a 1974 military coup with the intention of uniting with Greece was followed by Turkey’s intervention.
‘New conjuncture before us,” says Akıncı
“We now have the date of the five-party conference. We also know that the guarantor states are being invited to that conference. Therefore, a whole new conjuncture has opened before us,” said Akıncı on Dec. 2, before an meeting with the Turkish Cypriot Parliament on the latest developments regarding the peace talks, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
“This was something we had wanted. I wish that we will cooperatively bring the years-long problem to an end there [five-party conference] with fruitful efforts,” he added.
Speaking to the members of press after a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson on Nov. 30, Akıncı said a firm date for the five-party conference needed to be set in order to revive the peace talks and reach a peaceful solution on Cyprus.
Anastasiades said after the dinner that there was a good chance to wrap up most of the issues on which the two sides differ ahead of the Geneva meeting.
“I want to reiterate our determination and from what I’ve concluded the determination of the other side to finally create the kind of fertile ground that will lead us to a successful conclusion,” Anastasiades said, The Associated Press reported.
Akıncı also said Nov. 30 that a referendum over a mutually agreed peace deal with the Greek Cypriot administration could still be put before the two communities of the island in mid-2017.
Once a final agreement is reached, it would be put to both communities in a referendum. A peace deal was approved by Turkish Cypriots in 2004 but rejected by Greek Cypriot voters.