Security and guarantees remain biggest stumbling block

The five-party debate on security and guarantees continued this morning at table 1. At 12 noon Cyprus time, negotiations were underway at table 2 covering land titles, property and governance. The two leaders joined that meeting at 12.30pm.

The talks are being chaired by UN Special Envoy Espen Barth Eide as Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary-General of the UN has returned to New York.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is expected to hold a press conference after lunch. He said he was pleased to note that all actors acknowledge that the security and guarantees issues is the most fundamental factor affecting the Cyprus issue.

It was learned that the Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades and Assistant Secretary General of the UN Feltman, gave a full 16-page answer to questions asked at closing yesterday. It is alleged that the Greek Cypriot leader wants the new state to be established to be an EU member and to be decisive about the guarantees.

Greek Foreign Minister Kochias spoke to reporters after the morning meeting. “Turkey has been saying these things [about guarantees] for the last 10 years, but we have been prepared for them,” Kotzias said, noting that Turkey’s proposals are not new. Kotzas stated that when he was speaking at the meeting, he reminded that Turkey had already violated two previous agreements.

In response, a diplomatic source told ‘Kibris Postasi’ that Turkey’s proposals on security and guarantees are new and Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Kotzias’ assertion that it is “not a new proposal” does not reflect the facts. The source underlined that the security and guarantees in the ‘Annan Plan’ were written with the understanding ‘mutadis mutandis’ [making necessary alterations while not affecting the main point at issue.]

Greek Cypriot daily ‘Cyprus Mail’ reports that agreement on security and guarantees is “not “something that cannot be done“, Turkish diplomatic sources cited by the Cyprus News Agency said.

The same sources, CNA said, likened the Crans-Montana conference with Burgenstock in the run-up to the finalisation of the Annan Plan in 2004, adding that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will adopt the same attitude as then.

Meanwhile, Turkish Cypriot sources told the CNA that the conference’s first two days are crucial, and “significant progress” is expected on Friday, when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrives to lead the talks. The sources said that proposals were made in such a way that negotiations can continue until a compromise is reached, with both sides retreating from their opening positions.

Kibris Postasi, Cyprus Mail

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