UN envoy Espen Barth Eide’s intense efforts to get Cypriot community leaders Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci to agree on the way forward in the Cyprus negotiations have brought no results, so far.
Both leaders have differing views on what order all six chapters should be addressed at a new Cyprus conference in Geneva.
Anastasiades has said that security and guarantees must be discussed first in the presence of guarantor powers Turkey, Greece, the UK and the EU, before moving on to other chapters.
However, Akinci, says that as the 11 February 2014 joint agreement specifies, all issues should be discussed interdependently, without any preconditions on how the final phase of the negotiations will be conducted.
A Greek Cypriot source told ‘Cyprus Weekly’ that Anastasiades has suggested to Eide that he travels to Ankara to discuss his proposals for a second Geneva conference.
It is understood that Akinci cannot commit Turkey to any decisions related to the security and guarantees chapter, therefore, it seems necessary that Eide speaks to Turkish President Erdogan’s close adviser Ibrahim Kalin to get a definite answer on the Geneva conference.
Eide has said that he will continue shuttle diplomacy, however he added, “I want to be honest, the leaders are far apart on the methodology of the conference.”
“The devil is in the details and the details are very important for both sides,” Eide said earlier on, emphasising the difficulty of his task.
Since May 2015, the leaders have made significant progress on the chapters on governance and power sharing, property, economy, European Union and territory.
There are some difficult issues that remain in each chapter such as rotating presidency, who has the right to return, territorial adjustments as well as security and guarantees. There is a broad understanding that there is not much left to do except to move onto the last give-and-take phase.
“Both sides know what the final agreement will look like but are holding on to the issues they see as their biggest bargaining chips and the whole problem right now is who gives what and when,” said a source close to the negotiations. “So the impasse is over the methodology rather than content.”
Anastasiades does not necessarily insist on completing the chapter on security and guarantees before moving onto the other chapters, a Greek Cypriot source told ‘Cyprus Weekly’. All he needs is to have a clearer picture on what the ultimate security arrangements will be, the source said.
According to a Turkish Cypriot source however, Turkey has made its position on security and guarantees very clear and says it is impossible to give Anastasiades a clearer picture, as this would very much depend on how decisions on other chapters such as governance and power sharing ultimately pan out.