I feel the need to communicate with you, as it is also my obligation, in order to provide a briefing on the present state of affairs, as well as on the proposal that I submitted last week at the negotiating table.
At the outset, I would like to make very clear that my objective is neither to engage in a blame game nor to comment on what is being attributed to me either by the Turkish or Turkish Cypriot side or, unfortunately, also by Greek Cypriot politicians.
My objective is to restore the truth about a proposal, the adoption of which will create the sound prospects, so that we can be optimistic for a positive outcome at the earliest possible.
As everyone is well aware, in spite of the progress achieved on the five Chapters of the internal dimension, namely, those of Governance, Economy, Property and European Union, including the territorial issue with the submission or exchange of Maps within an agreed framework –for the first time, let it be noted- disagreements remain or backtracking is also being recorded even on what has been agreed.
An important Chapter, which constitutes the main source of the current unacceptable situation, is the continuing presence of the occupation troops and also the Treaties of Guarantees.
After the Turkish Cypriot side’s refusal to submit Maps on the Territorial issue at Mont Pelerin and its insistence that, in order to do so a multilateral Conference should take place, and given of course our own wish for Turkey, at last, to face up to its responsibilities, on 1 December 2016 I made the responsible decision for a Conference on the Cyprus problem in Geneva to take place.
In Geneva, besides the exchange of Maps, the Conference on Cyprus took place, even if it did not yield a result.
Nonetheless, as it is also noted in the press release issued by the United Nations on 12 January 2017, it was decided to set up a team of technocrats, in order to prepare the continuation of the Conference at a political level.
After the meeting of the technocrats on 18 January 2017, the two leaders, consistent with what was agreed in Geneva, decided on 1 February 2017 to ask from the United Nations to prepare, in consultation with the guarantor powers, the continuation of the Conference on Cyprus at a political level, at the beginning of March.
At the same time, I suggested to the Turkish Cypriot leader, in order to be more productive, the recording in a three-fold document of:
- a) the convergences and common views achieved thus far,
- b) the pending matters, on which the gap between the two sides is small, as well as
- c) the matters on which, as was evident by the discussion at the time, there were substantial disagreements between the two sides.
I also suggested to the Turkish Cypriot leader that we hold a joint press conference, and with full respect to the principle that nothing is considered as agreed unless everything is agreed, to inform the people of Cyprus on the progress achieved thus far.
The reaction of the Turkish Cypriot side was negative to both requests.
With the resumption of the talks on 11 April, after the unjustified interruption of the dialogue for two months, a new cycle of meetings was agreed with 17 May set as the date for the evaluation of the results.
At the last meeting of 17th May 2017, the Turkish Cypriot leader, invoking the lack of progress, submitted the proposal for the convening of a new Conference in Geneva, during which the two sides would present their main aspirations, in order to achieve progress through a give-and-take procedure.
At the same time, he demanded that energy plans of the Republic of Cyprus be suspended.
Considering how critical these moments are, and having as my sole objective to avert an impasse that was in sight, after I rejected the demand for the suspension of the energy plans and while being completely consistent with what has been jointly agreed on 12 January in Geneva and 1 February in Cyprus, I suggested that we immediately go to Geneva, and in order for this course to yield results, to:
First: Convene a Conference on Cyprus for the completion and conclusion of the discussion on the Chapter of Security and Guarantees.
Second: If and when we reach a conclusion, to proceed immediately to the discussion and resolution of the Property issue, and
Third: Then stay in Geneva for as long as necessary, namely, hold a continuous summit of the leaders, in order to achieve not just substantive progress, but even the comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem as well.
Since the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot side, and unfortunately some circles from the Greek Cypriot community as well, claim that my proposal focuses on procedural matters, I want to reiterate that I am completely consistent with what has been jointly agreed with the Turkish Cypriot leader, as they are recorded in the Announcements of the United Nations of 1st December 2016, when we were about to go to Geneva, of 12th January 2017 and of 1st February 2017.
I would like to reiterate once again to everyone my determination to proceed, through a substantive dialogue and away from any expediency, to a solution that would permanently terminate the unacceptable situation that exists today.
A solution that would create a modern European state, which safeguards the rights of all citizens and which will allow, under conditions of security, the peaceful coexistence and undertaking of joint creative ventures between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
I call once more on Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader, if they truly desire the solution of the Cyprus problem, as they claim, to calmly reconsider the proposal I have submitted, which I believe can provide the answer to the problems we face at the negotiations.
At the same time, I would like for one last time to appeal to the political forces of the country to consider that the challenges, threats and problems that we are called upon to address, are beyond and above expediencies dictated by personal or other aspirations./IBNA