President Nicos Anastasiades issued the following formal statement on Friday giving his reasons for the impasse in the Cyprus negotiations:
“It is with great regret that I was informed by Mr Espen Barth Eide, Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Cyprus, about the decision of the Turkish Cypriot leader not to accept the compromised proposal I made through him, but also his refusal to accept the invitation addressed by Mr Eide for a joint meeting to be held next Monday.
A meeting aimed at reviewing the state of affairs in order to find a commonly accepted approach that would lead us to substantial steps, not just to achieve progress but also to finally find a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem.
My biggest disappointment lays on the content of the announcement issued by the Turkish Cypriot leader in an attempt to blame the Greek Cypriot side, on the pretext that conditions are set in the methodology to be followed at a new conference, in Geneva.
I would, in order to restore the truth, like to point out that during the latest meeting of 17 May 2017, the Turkish Cypriot leader, citing the lack of progress, presented the proposal to hold a new conference in Geneva, where the two sides would present their main aspirations in order to achieve progress through a “give and take” process. At the same time, he demanded that the energy plans of the Republic of Cyprus be suspended.
Recognising the critical moments, and having as my only aim the prevention of a deadlock, as well as having rejected the claim for suspending the Republic’s energy plans, and at the same time, being totally consistent with what was jointly agreed on 12 January in Geneva and on 1 February in Cyprus, I submitted my well-known proposal to go immediately to Geneva for negotiation, in such a way as to bring tangible results.
During Mr Eide’s discussions on the basis of my proposal and in order to help so for the necessary convergence to be achieved, since my original proposal was rejected by the Turkish Cypriot leader, I submitted in writing a new compromised proposal, which provided for the following:
• The Conference on Cyprus would be convened in accordance with the January and February agreements. The purpose of the Conference will be to reach a comprehensive settlement on the Chapter of Security or/and to achieve sufficient progress (“within a range of agreement”). In order to avoid any ambiguities or disagreements, my proposal provided for progress to be made on the basis of specific and mutually agreed criteria.
• Such a development would have paved the way for an effective management of the Chapter on territorial adjustments and then, an extensive negotiation to be followed, that would last for as long as it is needed, on the outstanding issues of the other four Chapters, with the aim of achieving a comprehensive settlement.
Unfortunately, my new proposal was rejected by the Turkish side without consideration, while, I repeat, the Turkish Cypriot leader has rejected an invitation from the Special Adviser for a joint meeting to be held next Monday; an invitation I accepted immediately.
I am also surprised by the statement made by the Turkish Cypriot leader on the cross-negotiation of all the Chapters, since he himself, all this time, has been vigorously refraining from engaging in any cross-curricular dialogue related to the Chapter on Territory (except for the exchange of maps in Geneva within an agreed framework), under the pretext of possible leaks of what was discussed.
At the same time, and with regard to the Chapter on Security and Guarantees, he was claiming that the substantive negotiation shall only be discussed at the end of the process, as the guarantors must also be involved.
Consequently, the one who has, essentially, been avoiding the methodology of 11 February 2014 is, and I express this with regret, none other rather than the Turkish Cypriot leader himself. And this is without having reference to the retreats of the Turkish side from certain convergences, the two-month unnecessary withdrawal from the dialogue, and the conditions the Turkish side presented in Geneva for the first time.
In response to what the Turkish Cypriot leader now claims, my position remains firmly resolute. If the Turkish Cypriot side, and Turkey in particular, want, as they say, to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, I am ready to attend a conference on Cyprus, in Geneva, at any time, but not for reasons of impression or search for pretexts to blame, but for a meaningful and effective negotiation that will lead us to immediate results and pave the way for a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem as soon as possible.”