End of December could be date for multi-party conference

Given the right conditions and providing there are convergences on most of the outstanding issues in the Cyprus talks, a date for a multi-party conference could be set before the end of December.

Before then, Greece and Turkey are expected to discuss issues around security and guarantees.

On Friday, Greek Cypriot Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, exchanged their first ideas on the issue. However, Erdogan is reluctant to meet before the multi-party talks begin.

Turkey has referred to a transitional stage of five years for troops and guarantees after which, it will decide whether or not to withdraw her troops.

Additionally, Turkey wants to establish a permanent sovereign base in the north, similar to the British Bases in Cyprus. The south appears only in favour of the conditions proposed for the first five year period. Reportedly, there are a number of proposals on the table.

President Anastasiades and President Akinci will focus on territorial discussions on Sunday and Monday. However, they are not expected to reach an agreement.

The two sides have managed to whittle down their differences regarding territorial proportions. The Turkish Cypriots want 29.2% of land for their component state, while the Greek Cypriot are aiming for the slightly lower figure of 28%. If an agreement is reached, it will virtually mirror what was proposed in the Annan Plan.

Since 1974, the South Cyprus government has had control of 59.5% of the island. The Turkish Cypriots control 36.2% of the island, while the British bases and the Green Line each hold 2.7%. The coastline of Cyprus is currently as follows: South Cyprus controlled areas – 38.4%, TRNC – 51.6%, Green Line – 0.4% and the British bases – 9.6%.

Cyprus Weekly

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