Last chance for Cyprus settlement: Akinci

The five-party conference on Cyprus set to take place on 12th January in Geneva will be the last opportunity for a solution in Cyprus. If there is no settlement, there will be no attempt to try again in the near future, President Mustafa Akinci has said.

In an interviews with ‘Al Jazeera’, the President stressed that there will be no new effort to reach a settlement in Cyprus if the talks in Geneva fail to achieve the desired results.

He said that the aim of the two sides is to hold a referendum at the end of the process and that “we wish for this process to be concluded after so many years”. Pointing out that that this was the first time a date for a meeting between the two communities and the guarantor powers had been determined, Akinci added:

“Therefore, this is the last stage now. A lot of progress has been achieved until today on various chapters of the Cyprus problem, but some issues are still waiting for an agreement. These are some issues including the chapters of governance, property, territory and issues of security and guarantees.

If a solution is reached on these issues at the Geneva Summit, reference could be made to a referendum. This is our target. However, if we cannot achieve this and we cannot achieve a solution in Cyprus within a federal framework, we should return and say this honestly to our communities. The two communities have been trying to settle this for 50 years. Twelve years ago we came very close, we held a referendum. Even though as Turkish Cypriots we said yes, the other community said no and we got no result. Now I am saying it clearly: We are exerting the last effort of our generation. Mr Anastasiades and I are people of the same generation. We want to leave a more viable island to the future generations. […]”

Asked as to whether the hope for a solution in the near future will be exhausted if there is no conclusion in Geneva, Akinci replied: “Unfortunately, if such a situation occurs, I do not think that such window of opportunity could open again easily. Therefore, it would not be wrong if it was described as the last chance”.

“I believe it is possible to set a date for a referendum in Geneva. While it is not certain whether we will reach that stage, if we do end up setting a date it will most likely be for the middle of 2017. We shall be putting everything we have agreed on, compiled in a settlement plan, to the vote” he said.

Stating that he expected both Greece and the Greek Cypriot side to take concrete steps in Geneva, Akinci pointed out that Turkey was doing all it could in terms of contributing to the process.

Explaining that the two sides were trying to reach as many convergences as possible before they head off to Geneva, the President reminded that both sides will be presenting their own maps on 11th January.

He also stressed that there will be no referendum if agreement is not reached on the issue of rotational presidency which is a sine qua non for Turkish Cypriots.

“The issues of security and guarantees are something which is sensitive for both sides. These are not issues which can be taken up with a wholesale approach. If one side continues to insist on zero troops and zero guarantees then we will not be able to reach any agreement. The same goes for us…If we insist on not changing a single aspect of the current system then again it will not be possible to reach an agreement” he said.

BRT, Al Jazeera

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