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Five challenges to peace

Detailed preparations are underway for the two sides to get into the deep waters of the Cyprus problem in November, the Cyprus Weekly has learned.

The leaders and their aides reckon that intense negotiations until the end of December will either produce major trade-offs that will ease the current process to a settlement or will result in an impasse and the need for a new approach.

At the leaders’ level, nothing much will happen until November, as President Nicos Anastasiades and his counterpart in the negotiations, Mustafa Akinci, will spend the rest of September in New York attending UN’s General Assembly functions, while the President will be abroad almost half of October, visiting China and Jordan.

The bulk of preparatory work will fall on the negotiators’ shoulders, who will be finalising a list with points of disagreements on all open issues of the problem, which Anastasiades and Akinci will attempt to tackle in the give and take session up to the end of the year.

The sides have made some headway on thorny issues, but they need to find common ground on five critical aspects.

PPOPERTY CRITERIA: An agreement on the level of priority between original owners of properties and the current users will provide a future Property Commission with the legal framework for tackling sensitive cases on an individual basis.

TERRITORY: The return of “quality land” where many Greek Cypriots could potentially be restituted to their properties is the big drive of Anastasiades. On the other hand, Akinci wants a property settlement not to affect the “social fabric” in the Turkish Cypriot side. Informed sources say there is a preliminary deal keeping under federal control some of the land owned by Greek Cypriots before 1974.

PRESIDENCY: An agreement on whether there will be president and vice president or whether the presidency will rotate is still pending.

SETTLERS: Although publicly denied, the Cyprus Weekly understands that a preliminary deal for demographic ratio 4:1 is still on the leaders’ agenda.

GUARANTEES: The issue will be discussed at the very end with guarantor powers present. Akinci’s spokesman told the Cyprus Weekly in July that guarantees are not a taboo for the Turkish Cypriots.

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