What is a comprehensive settlement? (III)
A comprehensive settlement wanted to offer a lasting resolution to the Cyprus problem requires the two sides grasping the need for compromising on “state succession.”
International law describes state succession as the replacement of one state, or states, by another, in the responsibility for the international relations of territory in conformity with international law. When this happens, a former state, or states, becomes extinct, in whole or in part, and a new state comes into being.
International law distinguishes between a mere change in government, constitution, regime, flag, national anthem or ideology, and the rarer occurrence of state succession. Since the exercise in Cyprus is not the incorporation of one of the parties into the existing international legal personality of the other, the critical question is how to facilitate the establishment of the new “Partnership State of Cyprus.”
In view of the current political asymmetry between the two polities in Cyprus as regards international recognition, the first step that needs to be taken is the equalization of the status and legitimacies of the two prospective co-founders of the new “Partnership State.” This may be done in various alternative ways. One way is through mutual recognition. The second way is for the U.N. Security Council to recognize the KKTC as one of the equal constituents of the new “Partnership State” in the process leading up to the signing of the comprehensive settlement.
There is a third way also: Constitute the new “Partnership State of Cyprus” out of what the Greek Cypriots call the Republic of Cyprus and what the Turkish Cypriots call the KKTC, through the transformation of both into co-founder states in favor of the new “Partnership State.”
Once agreement is reached in principle between the two co-founders on the legal procedure that will need to be followed, the following specific issues would need to be addressed:
*Agreement on the validity of the statutes, law regulations, rules and contracts of both parties to the extent that these are not inconsistent with the “Founding Agreement”;
*The determination of the common treaty obligations and membership in international organizations which would apply to the new “Partnership State” from the baskets of the Republic of Cyprus and of the KKTC;
*The distribution and settlement of the public assets and liabilities of the two parties;
*Settlement of the property issue;
*Settlement of the citizenship issue and of other acquired rights.
Although issues of sovereignty and state succession are very complex and sensitive, the international community must ensure more orderly and less violent transitions of sovereignty in instances of state succession by weighing the competing concerns and interests of those involved with the needs of international peace and stability.
This need has now turned into a necessity in Cyprus where if there ever be a settlement most likely the “majority element” that has been unjustly been treated as the sovereign by the international community since 1964 collapse of the previous partnership state (the Greek Cyprus side) will no longer be able to claim of being the “sole” sovereign of the entire island and its population, but concede to a federal power sharing of two equal constituent states.