South Cyprus President Anastasiades has suggested overcoming the impasse over the joint statement by agreeing instead on a “substantial, simple and significantly shorter” joint declaration between the two sides.
In a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon one week ago, the Greek Cypriot president argued that throughout the negotiations, he demonstrated good will and open mindedness in the face of legitimate concerns, despite opposition from the most of the South’s political parties.
He wrote that he was unable to say the same for his counterpart: “Regretfully, I have been faced with a constant effort to erode the basis of the settlement to be reached and the projection of the notion of separate sovereign states.”
“If the process is to stand any chance of success, the goal posts cannot be in constant motion. It must start with a basic common understanding of where we want to go and how we can best get there.
Hence there should be no space for ambiguity or ‘creative thinking’ around the notion of sovereignty,” he said.
The Greek Cypriots’ last draft proposal on a joint declaration submitted on 18th December, he claimed was, “tangible proof” of his resolve and determination to start the peace talks “despite the serious apprehensions and strong reservations raised by the majority of the leaders of political parties and at the expense of serious political capital.”
He accused the Turkish Cypriots of not holding to the vision of reunification, given their rejection of the latest draft, despite the Greek Cypriot compromises contained within.
“While I was aspiring to a meaningful negotiation in order to reunite the country, the Turkish Cypriot side was elaborating the terms of an eventual separation,” he said.
Anastasiades suggested as an alternative, “a swift adoption of a substantial, simple and significantly shorter joint declaration” as the answer to the Turkish approach which was leading the process to an impasse.
Such a declaration should contain: a) a clear reference to the High Level Agreements and the relevant UN resolutions; b) clear reference to membership in the EU and to the primacy of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Cypriots; and c) a clear outline of the methodology of the talks where all issues are seen as interdependent and are not artificially fragmented.
The president told the UN leader: “The settlement has to be such that nobody should be able to challenge the unity of the federal state or undermine it, or anticipate its dissolution with a view to promote secessionist actions or attempts to achieve international recognition of the illegal entity in the occupied areas of Cyprus.”
While emphasising his full and unwavering adherence and commitment to the UN good offices mission in Cyprus, Anastasiades implied criticism of Alexander Downer in his letter to Ban:
“I have no doubts that your sole aim, as well as the aim of your Special Adviser Mr Alexander Downer and all those representing the UN is to defend what the Organisation stands for, and implement all its principles and resolutions, without diluting the values they have the duty to protect and promote.
“It is not enough to seek a ‘balanced compromise’. We must all ensure that the settlement will be viable and durable in time and, therefore, has to incarnate the principles and values that the people of Cyprus also have the legitimate expectation to see upheld.”