The note of President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades with the actions he has taken to support relevant sections of Resolution 2483, with an aim to reach a viable and comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem, is included in the report of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on his good offices mission.
President Anastasiades’ note is separated into three units, namely efforts to resume the peace process, factors impeding the resumption of the peace process, and the way forward.
The President says that, “for substantial negotiations to resume, we need an environment that will allow constructive discussions to be held, in the same spirit and conditions that characterized all previous negotiating rounds, including the two Conferences on Cyprus.”
“We therefore call the UN Secretary-General, his Good Offices mission on Cyprus and the Permanent Members of the Secretary Council, as the guardian, of international law and of the values and principles of our UN family, to adopt an assertive stance so as for Turkey on the one hand to terminate its unlawful activities and refrain from any provocative acts and on the other hand to terminate its negative interventions as regards the bicommunal aspects of the negotiating process and concentrate its efforts and work constructively towards reaching a comprehensive settlement on the Cyprus problem,” he says.
President Anastasiades says he has “engaged constructively” with UN envoy Jane Holl Lute “since her appointment, in an effort to agree terms of reference based on which to resume the process.”
“To this end, on 14 June 2019, I addressed a letter to the UNSG, suggesting i) to hold a tripartite meeting between the leaders of the two communities and Ms. Lute, so as to discuss ways to overcome difficulties in agreeing the terms of reference, and ii) to hold a tripartite meeting between the leaders of the two communities and the UNSG, in order to assess the state of play and explore possible ways forward,” he points out.
He adds that “at a meeting I had with Mr. Akinci on 9 August 2019, which I initiated, an understanding was reached, in principle, that the terms of reference should consist of i) the Joint Statement of 11 Feb. 2014, ii) the six-point package framework elaborated by the UNSG at Crans Montana, and iii) the convergences achieved until the Crans Montana Conference.”
“I also agreed with the Turkish Cypriot leader that neither of us would insist on interpreting the elements of the Secretary General’s package in the terms of reference themselves. In this regard, I would stress the value of receiving written proposals by the Turkish Cypriot side on the UNSG six-point package, akin to those submitted by the Greek Cypriot side in Crans Montana,” he says.
The President notes that “Ms. Lute was informed of the understanding achieved on 9 August 2019 and was invited to Cyprus to assist us in formalizing it, thus paving the way for a meeting between the leaders and the UN Secretary General in late September in New York,” but “unfortunately, following consultations with other interested stakeholders, this understanding was not upheld and, during Ms. Lute’s visit to Cyprus in early September, the Turkish Cypriot side insisted on including unilateral interpretations of one element of the UNSG package, as well as other elements preempting both the way forward and the substance of the negotiations.”
He adds that he remains “convinced that the minimalist document encapsulating the spirit of what was agreed on 9 August 2019, is the only way forward.”
The President says that, “in anticipation of Ms. Lute’s visit to Cyprus in November 2019 and of a meeting between the leaders and the UNSG, I reiterate my strong commitment to reach agreement on the terms of reference as quickly as possible, as well as my readiness to hold an informal conference in Crans Montana format in order to agree the modalities of a possible substantive meeting for fully fledged negotiations.”
He adds that “such a phased approach would allow for a well-prepared negotiation, the importance of which was highlighted also by the UNSG in his Report S/2019/322 of 16 April 2019.”
“It should be clear that the aim of reaching an agreement on the terms is to pave the way forward for resuming the negotiating process and therefore we should avoid: (i) Inserting provisions of not ruling out possible solutions of the Cyprus Problem that run contrary to the UN Security Council Resolutions. In this regard, it is recalled that in the Report of the Secretary General on Progress towards a settlement in Cyprus, dated 14 June 2018 (S/2018/610), the Secretary General stated that, ‘With respect to the guarantor Powers, in its public statements since July 2017, Turkey has expressed doubts as to the possibility of reaching a settlement based on the established parameters, given the outcome of the conference in Crans-Montana and past failures. Turkey has nonetheless reiterated its support for a ‘sustainable settlement’ of the Cyprus issue’,” he says.
He adds that “we have faced a specific obstacle in agreeing the terms of reference in the form of an insistence to interpret political equality as a veto of the Turkish Cypriot community in all decisions of all federal institutions.”
“Beyond the fact that such interpretation is not and could not be extracted from the agreed definition of political equality, I must recall that it is the existence of a much more restricted such right of veto that created the constitutional crisis in Cyprus in the first place. I must also stress that such a provision in the settlement would not only render the state dysfunctional, but it would defeat the purpose of reunification altogether,” he notes.
The President says he is “absolutely convinced that the suggestion by the UNSG in his six-point package, i.e. to grant a positive vote in specific bodies where the vital interests of each community or constituent state might be affected provided that there exists an effective deadlock-resolving mechanism, is the only formula that can lead us to a breakthrough on this issue.”
“I am also convinced that embedding separatist and deadlock-inducing decision-making mechanisms in the settlement will make it non-viable. The convergences already achieved on effective participation amount to the most far-reaching power sharing arrangements in existence, anywhere,” he adds.
A note by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also included in the report.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.