By Costas Yennaris
This is a book (published in 2008) written by Glafcos Clerides, in which he describes his experience in negotiating for a Cyprus settlement.
Reading through it is really amazing how some events seem to be repeated all the time. But what is important these days that the Cyprus issue is going through one of its usual “breaks”, are Glafcos Clerides’ conclusions in the book.
It is indeed amazing to what extent these words answer dilemmas and questions of “what should we do”, but also provide well-substantiated answers to all those on both sides who dream of more nationalistic solutions. There is no need to analyse the specific points as the text is self-explanatory.
Clerides came to the conclusion that “all international bodies recognise legal principles but are reluctant to implement them fully in practice”.
In the case of Cyprus, he observes that the UN Security Council and the General Assembly recognise legal principles which provide for:
a) respect for the territorial integrity, the independence and the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus b) the withdrawal of Turkish occupation forces c) return of the refugees to their properties under conditions of safety d) maintenance of the demographic composition of the population of the Republic of Cyprus e) the condemnation of secession and a request to the seceding part to return to the Cyprus Republic.
However, he says that some of these legal principles have not been fully applied at all, because the resolutions containing them were not passed under chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which empowers the Security Council to take measures against those who do not comply with its resolutions.
He attributes this, to “the reluctance of the permanent and non-permanent members of the Security Council to create a precedent for the imposition of solutions instead of the solutions of political problems by consent of the parties involved.”
And to the importance which Turkey’s allies attached to her…
a) Turkey is in an area which neighbours countries which are torn by military and political conflicts b) It has on its territory US air bases to which it provides additional services for the observation of terrorist activities c) her model of government and her cooperation /partnerships, both military and political, with countries which are mainly Christian, are considered useful by her allies for the democratisation of other Islamic countries, in combating terrorism and in finding political solutions and establishing peace in the wider region d) significant oil pipelines pass through Turkish territory.
The experienced leader saw that the United Nations restricted, in the case of Cyprus, its principles. He recalls that the UN has formulated the framework of a solution as follows:
The solution will take the form of a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation which the two sides agreed to at the high-level talks between Makarios-Denktash and Kyprianou-Denktash.
Withdrawal of the occupation forces was to begin; according to the Annan plan it would start in 2004 and be completed in 14 years.
Out of the 160,000 refugees whom the resolutions specified should return to their homes in conditions of safety, more than 50% would have returned under Greek Cypriot administration to territory which was to be returned to the Greek Cypriot community.
The demographic composition of the Republic which the resolutions specified should not be altered would, unfortunately, have been altered due to the continued presence of a large number of settlers from the Turkish mainland.
Clerides said, the Turkish side, after being anchored to the position that the solution of the Cyprus problem should be based on two separate states, finally ended up accepting in the 2004 referendum what the UN considered to be a solution by consent.
In his view there are certain elements that cannot be changed as regarding a solution:
The parameters of the solution of the Cyprus problem which are set out in the resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly.
The balance between the two sides based on political equality.
He believed that the basis was that of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which was agreed at the high-level talks and accepted by the General Assembly and the Security Council.
“Instead of the illegal Turkish occupation which exists today, there will be a legal ownership by the Turkish Cypriot community of one of the cantons, which will exercise exclusive executive, legislative and judicial power, as in all other federal states; something which would not have existed if the coup and the invasion had not taken place”.
Journalist and political analyst