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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 10-01-20

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed regret over the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side in the ongoing UN-led negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem, noting that such proposals, which contravene the agreed basis for a Cyprus settlement cannot be accepted by the Cypriot side.

    In a letter dated January 13 to the UN and the EU, given to publicity by Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou, President Christofias presents aspects of the Turkish Cypriot proposals on Governance, one of the chapters discussed in the negotiations, pointing out that they go beyond the Annan plan, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side during the 2004 separate referenda.

    Noting that the Annan plan was a product of a ``one-sided arbitration in favour of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side`` and that it provided for a ``non-functional and non-viable proposed settlement,`` the President states that ``it was, therefore, essential to bring about such substantial improvements in the various aspects of the Cyprus problem that would allow a possible agreement to be acceptable to the Greek Cypriots.``

    President Christofias points out that ``during the current negotiating process, the Greek Cypriot side has consistently adhered to this approach,`` adding that in ``tabling of its positions at the negotiation table, (the Greek Cypriot side) has been extremely careful to avoid tipping the sensitive balance created all these years in the framework of the Secretary-General`s Good Offices.``

    ``Indeed, every neutral observer would easily conclude that our positions respect this balance, especially issues such as that of representation in the federal institutions, decision-making, etc, which concern the agreed basis/framework of a solution, namely, one state with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship; a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as set out in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.`` he points out.

    Christofias notes that ``the Greek Cypriot side, in proposing the rotating presidency with weighted voting, had the intention of strengthening the institution of the Presidency for the benefit of both communities whilst maintaining some of the elements that comprised the Annan proposal on the executive,`` recalling that the Annan proposal for the executive established the rotation period as 4:2.

    He also recalls that the Annan plan incorporated the principle of cross voting in the election of the executive.

    ``These elements were fully observed in the Greek Cypriot proposal, which enshrines the concept that the political weight of the Turkish Cypriot community in electing the Greek Cypriot President/Vice president is equal to the political weight of the Greek Cypriots in electing the Turkish Cypriot President/Vice President,`` Christofias notes.

    ``It is thus regrettable that the Turkish Cypriots did not adhere to a similar standpoint. Many of their positions contradict both the agreed basis, as well as the sensitive balance, created throughout these years,`` the President underlines.

    According to the President, whereas the Annan Plan provided for rotational presidency on a 2:1 ratio, despite the population ratio being 4:1, the Turkish Cypriots now insist on a 3:2 ratio.

    Furthermore, while the Annan Plan provided for a 6:3 ratio for the Council of Ministers, the latest Turkish Cypriot side insists on a 7:5 ratio.

    With regard to decision-making in the Council of Ministers, the President points out that the Annan Plan provided for at least one vote from each community, whereas the Turkish Cypriot side demands concurrent favourable vote of both the President and the Vice-President to take a decision.

    The President further notes that while the Annan Plan provided for special majorities only in the Senate, the Turkish Cypriots however insist on special majorities also in the Lower House.

    Regarding the federal departments, while the Annan Plan provided that the Director and Vice-Director for 5-6 federal departments will not hail from the same federated unit and that the decisions will be taken jointly, the Turkish Cypriot side demands this to be in force for all federal departments, institutions and administrative organs.

    With regard to external relations, the President notes that while the Annan Plan provided that decisions on external relations within the sphere of competences of the constituent states shall be made after consultation with them, the position of the Turkish Cypriot side is that such decisions shall be made in agreement with them.

    Furthermore, the President indicates that while the Annan plan provided that the federated units have a right to conclude international agreements on commercial and cultural matters, the Turkish Cypriot side demands such right for all the competences of the federated units, which inter alia, would contravene the agreed principle of a single international personality.

    As regards the Flight Information Region (FIR), President Christofias points out that whereas the Annan plan provided for a single FIR, the Turkish Cypriot side demands two FIRs.

    According to the letter, the Annan plan provided that any past act shall be recognised as valid provided, inter alia, that it is not inconsistent with international law, while the Turkish Cypriot side does not accept this.

    ``The above instances show that the Turkish Cypriot side supports positions, which contravene the agreed basis and the sensitive balances which have been shaped during decades of negotiations. It is not possible to expect the Greek Cypriot side to accept positions, which are beyond the balances and in fact to such a degree,`` President Christofias notes, underlying that ``even if we were to accept them, it is certain that they would be rejected in a new referendum, disastrous for the prospects of a mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus problem.

    President Christofias also refers to the intensified round of talks, noting that they are ``of vital importance for the outcome of the entire effort,`` adding that ``it is obvious that in order to continue to a final round, there must be such convergence which would allow for this to take place.``

    ``This is further necessitated because, as we had agreed, this time there will be no arbitration, but a clearly Cypriot-owned solution,`` the President points out.

    Concluding, President Christofias notes that ``Greek Cypriot side wishes to assure you of its unwavering commitment to the aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement based on the UN Security Council Resolutions, the values and principles of the EU as well as on the agreed framework for a single, federal, bizonal, bicommunal state, with single sovereignty, single international personality, single citizenship and political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, that would safeguard the human rights and freedoms of all Cypriots.``

    President Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat began UN-led direct negotiations on September 2008 with a view to reunify Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. They concluded the first round of three-day intensive negotiations and they will hold a second round on January 25, 27 and 27.


    Cyprus Government Spokesman said on Wednesday that the British Court of Appeal`s judgment on the case of Meletis Apostolides Vs Orams was ``very important.``

    ``These legal rulings are very important, they arm us to pursue the rights of the property owners and the solution of these problems on the basis of principles,`` Stephanou said, adding ``we will utilise this ruling with various ways and towards various direction,`` including during the ongoing UN-led talks for the solution to the Cyprus problem.

    The British Court judgment was issued in the case of Apostolides v Orams, in which Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides took the Orams couple to court, claiming his property rights over his property in the occupied areas where the Orams had built, illegally, a holiday home.

    Stephanou noted that the second message sent by the ruling is that the legal owner has the first say over the future of his property. Replying to a question whether the Government would urge owners of property in the Turkish occupied areas of Cyprus to follow this legal path, Stephanou said these issues are both political and legal and must be dealt with particular caution and that the moves made should be careful.


    UN Secretary Generals Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer has discussed with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias, the second round of the intensive talks, which will be held next week, in the framework of the ongoing direct negotiation process, aimed at finding a solution to the Cyprus problem. Downer also reiterated that he is cautiously optimistic about the talks and said that the British Court of Appeal judgment underlines the importance of the negotiations.

    In statements after a meeting he had with President Christofias in the Presidential Palace, Downer said that he had the opportunity to review with Christofias where we are at in the talks and make preparations for next week`s intensive talks, which will take place on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. So, we had a significant focus on that issue, and I had an opportunity to hear from Mr. Christofias about his visit to Greece and other issues, he added.

    Asked what it should be expected from the second round of the intensive talks, Downer said we have to wait and see. I think it is important not to get into the details of this. We have been positive about the process of having two intensive rounds of talks and it is an opportunity for the leaders to spend three full days together again, as they did last week, to really concentrate their minds on the governance and power sharing chapter, the economy, and the EU, and to see what they can agree on and see if they can continue to take the process forward, he said.

    Replying to a question if he is concerned about the future of the negotiations, Downer noted he did not want to get into the game and make predictions. I have always said that I am cautiously optimistic that in the end the leaders will be able to negotiate an agreement. But it is, inevitably a time consuming work as you can see, he added.


    The issue of property in Cyprus can only be solved through a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem, British Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) Office has said.

    FCO`s remarks came one day after the ruling of the British Court of Appeal in the case of Apostolides v Orams. ``Property is one of the most complex and sensitive subjects in the Cyprus problem. We recognise the importance of this verdict. It is a legal rather than a political decision,`` an FCO Spokesperson said in a statement, adding ultimately, we believe the sensitive issue of property can only be solved by a comprehensive settlement. We continue to fully support the two leaders in their attempts to achieve this.``

    The spokesperson also noted that ``we understand that property remains a sensitive and emotive issue for many people in Cyprus.`` ``It can only be fully resolved by political means through a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem. I urge all Cypriots to support fully the efforts of the two leaders to find a comprehensive solution and focus on the benefits that ending the division of the island will bring,`` the statement concludes.

    The British Court judgment was issued in the case of Apostolides v Orams, in which Greek Cypriot Meletis Apostolides took the Orams couple to court, claiming his property rights over his property in the occupied areas where the Orams had built, illegally, a holiday home.

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