By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders Nicos Anastasiades and Dervis Eroglou are very close to agreeing a joint declaration that will pave the way for the resumption of the peace talks, under UN auspices, for the unification of the divided island. They have already agreed on a draft joint declaration, which was published in local media today. According to the draft, the solution to the Cyprus issue will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality. The draft joint declaration although considered similar with the draft plan submitted by the Greek Cypriot side on December 18 2013 and was rejected by the Turkish Cypriot side, has five key changes in content.
“A positive impact”
According to the text of the draft join declaration, the two leaders have agreed that the status quo is unacceptable and its prolongation will have negative consequences for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The leaders affirmed that a settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, respecting democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as each other`s distinct identity and integrity and ensuring their common future in a united Cyprus within the European Union. The leaders expressed their determination to resume structured negotiations in a results-oriented manner. All unresolved core issues will be on the table, and will be discussed interdependently. The leaders will aim to reach a settlement as soon as possible, and hold separate simultaneous referenda thereafter.
The key elements
According to the draft, the settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality, as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements. The united Cyprus, as a member of the United Nations and of the European Union, shall have a single international legal personality and a single sovereignty, which is defined as the sovereignty which is enjoyed by all member States of the United Nations under the UN Charter and which emanates equally from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. There will be a single united Cyprus citizenship, regulated by federal law. All citizens of the united Cyprus shall also be citizens of either the Greek-Cypriot constituent state or the Turkish-Cypriot constituent state. This status shall be internal and shall complement, and not substitute in any way, the united Cyprus citizenship.
The powers of the federal government, and like matters that are clearly incidental to its specified powers, will be assigned by the constitution. The Federal constitution will also provide for the residual powers to be exercised by the constituent states. The constituent states will exercise fully and irrevocably all their powers, free from encroachment by the federal government. The federal laws will not encroach upon constituent state laws, within the constituent states’ area of competences, and the constituent states’ laws will not encroach upon the federal laws within the federal government’s competences. Any dispute in respect thereof will be adjudicated finally by the Federal Supreme Court. Neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.
Furthermore, the united Cyprus federation shall result from the settlement following the settlement’s approval by separate simultaneous referenda. The Federal constitution shall prescribe that the united Cyprus federation shall be composed of two constituent states. The bi-zonal, bi-communal nature of the federation and the principles upon which the EU is founded will be safeguarded and respected throughout the island. The Federal constitution shall be the supreme law of the land and will be binding on all the federation`s authorities and on the constituent states. Union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession or any other unilateral change to the state of affairs will be prohibited.
Nothing is agreed until everything agreed
The draft joint declaration says that “the negotiations are based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.
“The appointed representatives are fully empowered to discuss any issue at any time and should enjoy parallel access to all stakeholders and interested parties in the process, as needed. The leaders of the two communities will meet as often as needed. They retain the ultimate decision making power. Only an agreement freely reached by the leaders may be put to separate simultaneous referenda. Any kind of arbitration is excluded”, is added.
President in Athens
President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades will hold a meeting today in Athens with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras with regard to the final drafting of the substantive joint communiqué.
The Cypriot President briefed on Thursday political party leaders on the latest developments concerning efforts to conclude a joint declaration with the Turkish Cypriot side, with the aim to outline the basic principles of a Cyprus solution in the talks to follow. The Greek Cypriot political parties are waiting for the final joint declaration in order to express their position.
However, Democratic Party (DIKO), government ally of right wing ruling party DISY, has already expressed its disagreement on the content of the draft joint declaration.
After the meeting with the political party leaders, the President made statements, saying that there are serious prospects for the conclusion of a joint declaration that will meet the basic principles for a Cyprus solution and lead to the resumption of Cyprus talks.
He also said that he would have consultations in the Greek capital, with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. Athens was kept informed on a daily basis, he added.