Anastasiades’ UN speech focuses on BBF

Anastasiades’ UN speech focuses on BBF

He fully supports the efforts for the discussions to be relaunched

By Michalis Michael

One of the Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’ most important meetings in USA ended with his presence on the House floor. There, he talked about all the open cases, as well as about Turkey’s multiple illegal activities in the occupied territories (Famagusta) and within the EEZ. He once again stated his willingness and support towards the efforts to resume negotiations, which are aimed at resolving the Cyprus problem within the framework of the Bi-zonal bicommunal federation, a fact that, since being stated so directly, has various recipients. One of them is the political opposition within Cyprus, which accused the President of Cyprus of trying to find other solutions to the Cyprus problem.

A scenario that was resurrected by the informal Cavusoglu-Christodoulides small talk, with the former stating that a meeting for a Confederation in Crans Montana took place in President Anastasiades presence, with the latter one denying it. The Cypriot President emphasized on the terms of reference, the agreement being the first step of those, while stressing that they should include the following elements:

(i) The Joint Declaration of 11 February 2014, which sets out the basic guidelines and principles for the framework of the solution sought, as well as the methodology of the negotiation process;

(ii) The convergences that took place, which led to the convening of the Conference on Cyprus in Crans Montana, and

(iii) The six-point framework of the UN Secretary-General regarding Security and Guarantees, Troops, Effective Participation, Territorial Adjustments, Real Estate and Equal Treatment, as presented on June 30, 2017 in Crans Montana.

On the solution framework and the shots fired at Turkey

As mentioned above, the President of Cyprus during his speech tackled the BBF framework, adding the factor of political equality. As he said, the goal is to transform Cyprus into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as defined in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and High Level Agreements, with one single sovereignty, one single international legal persona and one single nationality. A settlement that will create a viable, functioning and permanent federal state, free from foreign dependencies, foreign troops and space for third-party interventions.

However, he did not fail to raise a number of questions regarding Turkey’s activity within Cyprus, to explain from the UN floor the situation as it stands. Therefore, he went on to wonder in this regard “how is it possible for the Secretary-General’s efforts to succeed, when Turkey violates the sovereign rights of Cyprus within its internationally recognized Exclusive Economic Zone and on the continental shelf? Or when Turkey threatens Cyprus with serious consequences if we proceed with our energy program? Or when Turkey threatens neighboring states and energy companies with which we collaborate and have created contractual obligations?

Do the Secretary-General’s efforts have any chance to succeed when recent public statements and actions by Turkish officials signal plans to occupy the enclosed Varosha area, the uninhabited Famagusta area, which is illegally under Turkish military occupation?”

Nicos Anastasiades did not fail to fire shots at the President of Turkey, saying that two days ago (Erdogan) in this respected Assembly he resorted to misleading claims. He referred, inter alia, to an undebatable position of the Greek Cypriot side, while also mentioning that those who claim they will solve the Cyprus problem on the premise of “zero security, zero guarantees” have had bad intentions right from the beginning.

The overall feeling

The Cypriot delegation in New York, with a feeling strongly shared within Cyprus as well, knew that a unique opportunity lied ahead of it: to unfold its position from the UN floor, while the process of concluding the terms of reference for the resumption of talks on the Cyprus issue was underway. At the same time, they were also given the chance to demonstrate what Turkey has been up to in the region, as well as, amidst such a climate, to get out there loud and clear the message that the effort to find a solution has never stopped.

This complex message was not easy to deliver. The goal, however, was for it to be formally forwarded to the UN, and especially in the hallway talks and the private contacts President Anastasiades would have both with high-level international diplomats and with the UN Secretary-General. He will also meet with Mr. Akinci. Given the circumstances, one can argue that Nicosia’s message was heard, with Nicos Anastasiades himself providing a response with a clear reference to Erdogan and his statements. At the same time, he made it clear that the process on the terms of reference should keep going. However, the first step might have been taken, yet the next one is the real challenge. The UN Secretary-General will have separate meetings with Anastasiades and Akinci, while Nicosia would not mind a joint one as well, which is what they seek for in order for everyone’s intentions to be put out there and for Mr. Guterres to figure out himself what his next step will be.

One should not forget that he called for an agreement upon the terms of reference before the UN Assembly, in order to move forward, possibly to a conference on the Cyprus issue. Therefore, this is Nicosia’s goal now; for the process of the terms of reference to be unblocked so progress can be made. Yet this process goes through Ankara, which calls for a different set of targets: not a breakthrough in the terms of reference process, but rather for a conference in order for the solution model to become more clear, a position on which Nicosia replies that this model is already clear, and that is the BBF, while also pointing out that the conference should be held not with that as a key topic of discussion, but rather focusing on everything else regarding the so-called historical compromise, as Nicos Anastasiades also mentioned in his speech. /ibna