Nicosia, May 18, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
Talks: They want progress through CBM
Anastasiades and Akinci focus on low politics CBM – they have set an intensive program of meetings, aiming to get things moving
By Pandelis Diomidous of MAXHnews
With the first decisions relating to the adoption of a series of low politics Confidence Building Measures, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci met for the first time last Thursday, signaling the beginning of the new direct talks process. Based on what Eide the two leaders said, discussions will take place in an intensified context, under the guidance of the two leaders, in order to have developments as soon as possible.
Frequency and structure
The decision of the two leaders for at least two meetings per month is interpreted by political circles as an attempt by President Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci to explore, as soon as possible, the ground for reaching an agreement. “The fact that the negotiating process will be guided by the same leaders of the two communities shows their will to have a crystallized image of the contact points and the points of difference, as soon as possible, so that they can focus where they must, in order to not lose momentum”, a top government official told MAXHnews.
At the same time, under the logic “let’s not loose valuable time”, the terms of reference of the negotiators were decided, according to which they will actually have almost daily contact. The decision of the first meeting last Thursday for intensive meetings of Mavroyiannis and Nami, in the intervals of the frequent meetings between the two leaders, is attributed to the attempt to first resolve difficult technical issues at a technocratic level, so that leaders can give their political consent, saving time.
Investing in CBM
The main conclusion since last Thursday is the clear message Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci attempted to send, that they are investing a lot in the necessary climate and for this reason have decided to strengthen it through a series low politics CBM.
In addition to the announcements already made to abolish the so-called visas at the turkish-cypriot barricades, but also the concession by the Anastasiades of the 28 minefields in Pentadaktylos, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozil Nami are already examining a series of other measures that will further push the process by facilitating the quality of life on both sides of the confrontation line.
The basis of the discussions are the documents exchanged by the leader of the two communities last July, except those recommendations set by Dervis Eroglu, which concealed and conceal attempt for political exploitation of CBM, in an effort to enhance the separation.
Specifically, special attention from both communities is given in the need to open more roadblocks, which will improve the lives of citizens in both communities.
According to the document lodged by President Anastasiades last summer, the Greek-Cypriot side proposes to open at least five roadblocks, which are:
– Athienou Pyroiou
– Lefkas Aplikiou
– Paphos Gate in Nicosia
– Pomos Pachyammos Kato Pyrgos
– Kato Pyrgos Karavostasiou
Indeed, according to confirmed information of MAXHnews the government is throwing the weight of its efforts on the above barricades, which considers of utmost importance to improve the quality of life of local residents, who suffer unimaginably covering huge distances, which could be avoided.
Committees and telephony
From the list of measures proposed by the President, those that are regarded as low politics – and therefore can be implemented in light of the decisions of the leaders – is the integration of the fixed and mobile operators of the two communities under the international recognized number 00357 of the Republic of Cyprus, and the creation of additional technical committees. Last July, President Anastasiades had proposed a technical committee of chambers of commerce of the two communities, a committee for the reconstruction and resettlement and a technical committee for EU affairs, under the direct supervision of the community itself.
They want individual contact
In addition to the confidence-building measures, the leaders of both communities have shown that they want to have a more personal communication, without the presence of any mediators. This is how one can interpret their decision to have a social meeting on May 23, in addition to the statements of Espen Barth Eide that such meetings will also take place in the distant future.
A government source told MAXHnews that Anastasiades and Akinci seem to have a certain chemistry and want through social meetings to break the ice even further, to develop their communication waves and understand each other’s concerns.
Through the network of decisions focused at first instance on Confidence Building Measures, there was discussion on the substance of the Cyprus problem.
From the meeting of May 28 and onwards, discussions will enter a very crucial point, regarding the diagonal or disjunctive negotiation of all the relevant chapters of the Cyprus problem, starting with the property matter, territory and governance. Nicosia invests a great deal in this third phase of the procedure, as a government official stressed: “in the midst of this dynamic momentum it will be made clear what room there is for negotiations in those chapters that our side expects to have gains rather than concessions”.
What should not be forgotten is the need for a comprehensive settlement, was the message sent on his part, Mustafa Akinci, referring to the CBMs that have already been announced.
However, he described the first meeting with President Anastasiades as a first step towards a comprehensive negotiation.
Referring in particular to the elimination of the so-called visa for passing through the barricades of the occupation regime, he said that many Greek-Cypriots refrained from passing through the north – in its expression – because of “visa”, while now this difficulty has been lifted. At the same time he expressed his wish to step up contacts between the two sides.
However, the Turkish-Cypriot leader said that besides social contact, cultural activities and CBMs, “we must not forget the need for a comprehensive solution”, which is the main point.
He continued by saying that no one wants to waste time and said that although there is no timetable, both sides believe that the process must be concluded as soon as possible, to the benefit of both sides.
The role of the international factor
Naturally after the resumption of the negotiations, the international community rushed to send messages of support and hope for a shift conclusion. The creating of a dynamic after the election of the new leader of the Turkish-Cypriot side apparently must be exploited, but under no circumstances should it be regarded as sufficient reason for early resolution of the problem, said s Minister of the Anastasiades government, noting that all diplomatic efforts now focus on applying pressure on Ankara, which through the change of stance will demonstrate that it respects the dynamics created.