Nicosia, October 18, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
There are signs of progress regarding a Cyprus settlement, but we can not say that “this is a matter of weeks or some months” the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot community Andreas Mavroyiannis said on Friday. He also said the prevailing euphoria on the matter is not justified and called for caution.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks, aiming to reunite the island under a federal roof, resumed on May 15, this year.
Speaking at a forum organized in Nicosia by the Democratic Party, on the solution of the Cyprus problem, Mavroyiannis noted that the Greek Cypriot side, as well as all EU member states are not willing to accept permanent derogations from the acquis or have settlement provisions turn into primary law.
He added that the Greek Cypriot side aims at better territorial adjustments than those provided for in the Annan Plan, a 2004 settlement plan that was rejected by the majority of Greek Cypriots. He added that the Greek Cypriot side has proposed the creation of a small army.
“The representative of the President of the European Commission [Pieter van Nuffel], when present at talks, is absolutely clear that there can be no permanent derogations and primary law” Mavroyiannis said.
He added that there are some developments or signs of progress in all negotiating chapters, but “none of the chapters has progressed to a degree where we can say that we may close it”.
Mavroyiannis noted that there is a lot of ground to cover. In particular, he said that regarding governance, the Greek Cypriot side can not accept the rotating presidency system, but believes rather in the democratic election of the country`s President by the total of the electorate.
In property, he spoke of progress in principle, with the recognition of the owner`s right to his or her property, but said that there is great distance to cover on the remedies that will be available to current users.
Regarding the territorial adjustment, the negotiator said that the Greek Cypriot side aims at the return of 60% of those displaced in 1974 under Greek Cypriot administration, while the rest should be able to return under Turkish Cypriot administration.
On the EU matters, Mavroyiannis noted the different approach on derogations, while on the issue of settlers, the Greek Cypriot side insists on preserving the original social structure.
The economy is a chapter where Turkish Cypriots understand that the state needs to function under a certain framework and within the Eurozone, he added.
Finally, the negotiator said that the system of guarantees can not continue and noted that this must be differentiated from the security aspect. The Greek Cypriot side no longer proposes demilitarization, Mavroyiannis said, adding that a minimum defence infrastructure and “probably a small army” need to be in place, in order for the country to be part of the European Security and Defence structure.
Speaking on the climate of euphoria that currently prevails on the island concerning the prospects of a solution, Mavroyiannis called for caution. We have in front of us very serious issues and problems, he said, adding that things are better compared to the past, however this provides no guaranty for anything.
“We must never accept this phony euphoria that is being cultivated, mainly from the international community, but…also in the interior,” he said.
Judging from what we have in front of us, it is not enough to say that a Cyprus solution is imminent in the next few week or months, he went on. He said however that it will become clear during the next two or three months if negotiations can proceed to cover all chapters.
avroyiannis said finally that a solution is inconceivable without people`s contribution.