ANSWERS BY PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS TO KIBRIS NEWSPAPER
From: Panayiotis Zaphiris <pzaphiri@Glue.umd.edu>
ANSWERS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
MR GLAFCOS CLERIDES,
TO QUESTIONS PUT TO HIM
BY MR SULEYMAN ERGUCLU OF KIBRIS NEWSPAPER
QUESTION 1: Mr Clerides, the recent developments led us to believe that
progress may be achieved on the Cyprus problem in the near future. Do
you share this belief and if so what are the specific developments that
led you to this belief ?
ANSWER 1: I have always believed that progress may be achieved in the
Cyprus problem and a settlement reached very rapidly, provided that there
is political will to solve the problem from both sides. May I remind you
that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ghali, in his report
to the Security Council of May 30 1994 attributed the failure to make
progress towards a solution to the lack of political will of the Turkish
Cypriot leadership and the failure of his good offices mission to produce
results to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side flouts international
opinion as expressed in Security Council resolutions. If this time, when
renewed efforts are going to be made for negotiations, this lack of
political will is not manifested, then, I am sure, that the road to the
solution will be wide open.
QUESTION 2: On Cyprus - EU relationship, Turkish Cypriots have worries.
These worries are mainly based on the understanding that if the EU
accepts Cyprus, as it is now, the Turkish Cypriots will be left without a
political status and thus, face many problems. How do you intend to
overcome this problem and satisfy the worriers of the Turkish Cypriot
ANSWER 2: I must say that I understand how the Turkish Cypriots feel as
regards the European Union membership of Cyprus. That is why I urge the
Turkish Cypriot leadership and all our fellow Turkish Cypriot citizens to
hurry up so that a solution is concluded before negotiations begin six
months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference. We will
then be able to negotiate together our accession to the European Union.
The prospect of joining the EU offers a great opportunity to all the
people of Cyprus and it is an opportunity that both Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots should not miss.
QUESTION 3: As you know, in any settlement, security is one of the most
important issues for both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Do you have any
proposal that may be acceptable by both sides to settle this problem ?
ANSWER 3: As you quite rightly say, security is one of the most important
issues for both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. I understand that if we
continue with the existing Treaty of Guarantees, with Turkey having the
right to unilateral intervention, and in addition if the future solution
allows Turkish troops to be stationed in Cyprus, this will most certainly
allay the fears and anxieties and address the security concerns of the
However, I want you to understand that this kind of arrangement will
create exactly the opposite feelings among the Greek Cypriots.
Therefore, what is needed is a security arrangement that addresses the
concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and which makes both
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots feel secure. The only possible
solution to this problem is the following approach: The old guarantors
will remain and new guarantors will be added. Thus the independence,
territorial integrity and constitutional order of the Republic will be
guaranteed by a greater number of guarantors. Secondly, an international
force, made up from contingents of the guarantors, will be stationed in a
This force will have the following rights:
(a) To ensure that no para-military organizations are created and no
arms are imported other than those agreed which will be needed for the
This solution will have the following advantages:
(b) To intervene after a decision of the guarantors taken by majority
if the independence and the territorial integrity of Cyprus are
imperilled by either of the two communities or if constitutional order is
Since we wish to join the European Union the guarantors should be from
the European Union and other countries.
- Should any tension arise it will not be exported to Greece and
Turkey which as a rule take the side of their respective related
communities. It will be localized and solved in the wider circle of
- The British guarantor will no longer be in the unenviable position of
finding itself in the middle and accused by both sides of not living up
to its obligations under the Treaty of Guarantees.
- Intervention will be made by the international force stationed in
Cyprus and, therefore, questions of invasion, occupation, withdrawal of
forces etc, which complicate the issue, will not arise.
- Greek and Turkish military contingents will continue to be stationed in
Cyprus. They will be part of an international force and, therefore, any
engagement or suspicion or allegation of engagement in chauvinistic
nationalism in their related communities would be checked or answered
QUESTION 4: Bizonality seems to be one of the principles accepted by both
sides. What do you understand from bizonality ?
ANSWER 4: May I remind you that bizonality has been agreed during the
high-level agreements and it was a concession made by the Greek Cypriot
community provided that the Turkish Cypriot community would accept that
basic human rights will be respected in the future Federal Republic of
Cyprus. We stand by these high-level agreements. What we consider as a
bizonal federation is that Cyprus will be composed of two federated
cantons or areas, the one to be under Greek Cypriot administration and
the other to be under Turkish Cypriot administration.
For this arrangement to be effective everything will depend on how the
territorial issue is settled. If the question of territory is solved in
such a way that it would allow at least two thirds of the refugees to go
back to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration, the remaining
refugees who may decide to go back under the Turkish Cypriot
administration will not affect the substantial Turkish Cypriot majority
in the area under Turkish Cypriot administration. Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots who will choose not to return will have the option to
sell, exchange or retain their properties.
QUESTION 5: Territorial adjustments are another major topic of
discussion on the Cyprus problem. If an agreement is to be reached, what
are your specific territorial expectations ?
ANSWER 5: I think in my reply given to question 4 I cover also the
QUESTION 6: On the issue of sovereignty, the Turkish Cypriot side seems
to be insisting on separate sovereignty for the two communities, and the
Greek Cypriot side seems to be insisting on single and unified
sovereignty. How do you plan to solve this problem to the satisfaction
of both sides ?
ANSWER 6: There is no county in the world, no state in the world which
hasn't but one and indivisible sovereignty. This is our position: The
Federal Republic of Cyprus will have a single, indivisible,
international, legal, personality and sovereignty. However, all powers
and functions of the federal state and of the two federated cantons will
be derived and will flow from the Constitution of the Federal Republic.
The powers for the federated cantons, which will have a maximum degree of
autonomy in internal administration, will be agreed upon.
QUESTION 7: The freedom of movement and settlement is another important
topic of disagreement between the two sides. Lately, the Greek Cypriot
side gave certain hints that it is ready to discuss certain limitations
on the subject, for a certain period of time. What exactly do you have
in mind and how do you envisage the functioning of this system ?
ANSWER 7: Our side remains committed to the necessity that any future
Federal Republic of Cyprus should respect human rights and its
Constitution should be compatible with all European human rights
conventions. In replying the previous question, I have already mentioned
our position as regards the question of settlement and property.
QUESTION 8: On the question of political equality, do you feel the Greek
Cypriot side is ready to accord equal political status to the Turkish
Cypriot side ? If yes, how will this work in practice ?
ANSWER 8: In every federal structure, the same powers and functions
allocated to one of the cantons or components are given to the other
canton as well. The equal political status of both communities has been
defined by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Boutros-Ghali, in his report of
30 April 1992, para. 11, i.e. not equal numerical participation but
effective participation of both communities in the federal government.
This definition is acceptable to our side. However, effective
participation should not be such as to create prolonged deadlocks in the
decision-making of the federal government. Deadlock-resolving mechanisms
should be provided to avoid prolonged tensions and counteract
QUESTION 9: The incidents between 1963 and 1974 have created a big gap
between the two communities. The Turkish Cypriots carry memories of
massacres and attacks. If the cooperation of the two communities is to
be achieved, these feelings must be left behind. Do you think that
recognition of the mistakes made during the 1963-1974 period could
satisfy the Turkish Cypriots and thus contribute to the future
cooperation of the two communities ?
ANSWER 9: Bad experiences and bitter memories of the past have been felt
by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. It is time to start looking
ahead of us, ahead into the future, which is common for both of us,
instead of looking backwards recriminating against one another.
Nonetheless, and in order not to avoid your question, may I remind you
that in my book "My Deposition" I specifically admit the responsibilities
of the Greek Cypriot side for unfortunate mistakes of the past and I give
an account both of the mistakes of the Greek Cypriot side and of the
Turkish Cypriot side. With regard to tragic events, losses and
sufferings I expressed regret and sympathy for the losses suffered by the
Turkish Cypriot community on the following occasions: During the London
Conference in 1963 I opened my address as follows:
"It is a matter of great regret to us that discussions of problems of
Cyprus which culminated in the present situation takes place after the
recent tragic events which caused pain and suffering to the people of
Cyprus. It would have been better if reason had prevailed at an earlier
stage and we had a conference before the events which have preceded it.
I fully sympathize with the feelings expressed by Mr Denktash about the
loss of life and sufferings of the Turkish Cypriot community but I would
have liked him with all sincerity to have expressed also sympathy for the
many deaths and sufferings which the Greek Cypriots have suffered".
I made also a similar statement before the Consultative Assembly of the
Council of Europe, as President of the Republic of Cyprus. I am ready to
make now a public statement expressing regret for the pain and suffering
caused to the Turkish Cypriot community if Mr Denktash is ready to make
also a similar statement about the pain and suffering caused to the Greek
I am even willing to go a step further. Both Mr Denktahs and I as
leaders of our respective communities together will all Greek Cypriot and
Turkish Cypriot political leaders should make a joint declaration that
never again our communities shall raise arms against each other, counter
or tolerate paramilitary organizations or illegal arms and express our
willingness to accept international inspection to this effect.
QUESTION 10: If an agreement were to be reached tomorrow, could you
please describe the "Cyprus" we would be faced with just after the
agreement and in 20 years time ?
ANSWER 10: I can foresee a united, bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus,
where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live peacefully together,
working towards economic parity for both communities and towards
prosperity and technological progress. Cyprus, if united, can become a
regional trade, tourism and educational center. All the above can be
achieved well before the 20-year time limit.