Forget past convergences: Souths’ government spokesman

Greek Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said that convergences in the Cyprus negotiations need to be founded on proposals made at the current negotiating table, ‘Famagusta Gazette’ reports.

Christodoulides, who was addressing the 30th PSEKA Cyprus Conference in Washington, noted that “we cannot continue the endless discussions of the past, concentrating solely on chapters that interest the Turkish Cypriot side, such as power sharing, without discussing inter-dependently – as called for by the Joint Declaration – all chapters, including territory, security guarantees, citizenship and settlers.”

He went on to say that “the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side, unfortunately, reveal a vision that contradicts the agreed UN framework of negotiations. This is not acceptable to us, it is not acceptable to the United Nations, and it is not acceptable to the United States or the European Union,” adding that this is “a clear message we should all continue to send.”

Noting that the Turkish side is using the so called ‘convergences’ from the past round of negotiations between 2008-2012 to avoid substantive discussions on all core issues, when they themselves have in the past repeatedly rejected these convergences. In fact, many of the proposals submitted contradict past convergences, Christodoulides said that “our position is that we have started a new round of negotiations, and through the proposals submitted by the two sides, we need to create ‘Anastasiades – Eroglu’ convergences.”

He noted that:

“In order to avoid an impasse, President Anastasiades has proposed a methodology to address the issue of convergences and the help negotiations advance. The proposal involves each side preparing a table clearly outlining what it considers to be convergences, issues where there is a small distance between the two sides, and core issues where there is a substantial gap. This methodology aims to bring clarity on where we are in the negotiations, and to help the process move along by allowing us to concentrate on core issues where significant distance separates the two sides.”

Christodoulides said that he hoped for a positive reaction from the Turkish Cypriot side in order to be able to move forward, noting that “we have informed the United Nations that we are ready to submit our table on convergences by September so as to inject dynamism in the negotiations.”

He recalled that President Anastasiades has proposed a bold package of confidence building measures that includes the fenced area of Varosha, the port of Famagusta, Turkey’s EU accession negotiations and the full implementation of the Ankara Protocol vis-à-vis the Republic of Cyprus.

He said that this proposal would dynamically alter the current process, that in the end, there would be no losers and most importantly it would inject much needed momentum to the negotiations. The South’s spokesman noted that during his recent visit to Cyprus, Vice President Biden had exerted enormous efforts to convince the Turkish side to agree on the implementation of confidence building measures, regrettably the Turkish side proved intransigent once again.

Christodoulides stressed that:

“We are committed to continuing our efforts, in parallel with the negotiations, and with the support of the United States, to reach an agreement on confidence building measures because we believe they will have a catalytic effect,” noting that “the US Government is showing great understanding and respect for our positions, and this was proven tangible during the Vice President’s visit. We know that the United States impresses upon Turkey that the status quo does not benefit Turkey militarily, politically, or economically, and that there is significant potential benefit for Turkey in a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.”

“We continue to ask for your assistance in getting this message through to Ankara, where the decision-making power ultimately lies,” he noted.

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