Recent press reports have suggested that there is a renewed effort being made to break the deadlock over the joint statement, bypassing President Eroglu and being formulated by the UN, Turkey and South Cyprus.
President Eroglu, according to the Turkish Cypriot press, has denied that Ankara via the USA is negotiating with the Greek Cypriots and insists that the only proposal being considered is the one he sent to the Greek Cypriots on 14th December.
Eroglu stated that he was ready and resolved to reach an agreement on a solution to the Cyprus problem providing it acknowledged the “realities” of the island.
However, US Ambassador to Cyprus, John Koenig is believed to be actively involved in the process, which remains under the auspices of the UN Good Offices, acting as a go-between for the Greek Cypriots and Turkey.
According to reports, Ankara has suggested removing the word ‘sovereign’ in the disputed clause regarding the power of one federated unit to control the other. In exchange, Turkey wants a new clause added to the text, asserting that both sides will respect the “balances” in the 1960 treaties on Cyprus.
Following Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s visit to the island last month, the Turkish Cypriots proposed a draft text which appeared to go some way towards meeting the demands of the Greek Cypriot side.
However, the Greek Cypriots had trouble with at least one provision in the draft which stipulated that the two sides in a federal structure could not hold sovereignty over the other, interpreting it to imply that each side becomes sovereign in their own right.
Following each sides rejection of the other’s draft proposals, President Anastasiades wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 2nd January suggesting a shorter, simpler joint declaration to get the negotiations started. However, the shorter statement was not necessarily going to get Turkish Cypriot agreement any more easily.
Ban replied to Anastasiades, suggesting that he continue the efforts to draft a more substantial joint declaration. Diplomats suggest if agreement can be reached between the two sides, this joint declaration would be clearer and more consequential as regards the outlines of a solution than the two High-Level Agreements made during the late 1970s.
While reference to the 1960 treaties may contain a number of positive aspects for the South, Anastasiades is reportedly unwilling to agree to a statement which includes any reference suggesting Turkey would continue its guarantees over a reunited island.
Anastasiades is believed to be in favour of an alternative arrangement to the outdated system of guarantor powers, involving some kind of combined structure consisting of NATO and European security forces.