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New phase in Cyprus talks

Cyprus talks have entered a new phase on the key security issue as UN-backed negotiations reach crunch time, President Anastasiades said on Thursday night.

“We are going into a different phase of discussions on guarantees,” Anastasiades told CyBC TV. He underlined his position that as an EU member state Cyprus has no need for security guarantees as provided for under the Treaty of Establishment.

Greece and Britain have signalled their willingness to drop their intervention rights but Ankara is reluctant to do so.

He said there had been informal talks between Greece and Turkey on this issue which needs to be resolved if a settlement is to go to a referendum.

He went on to stress that a Cyprus settlement would be based on the EU’s four fundamental freedoms — the free movement of persons (and citizenship), including free movement of workers; the free movement of services and freedom of establishment; the free movement of goods; and the free movement of capital.

This was in response to Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci’s demands on a secured majority of population and land ownership in the Turkish Cypriot constituent state emerging through a solution. “Under a federal system,” Anastasiades said, “the security of each constituent state is secured.”

The President made clear that on the first day after a settlement, the Buffer Zone — around 2% of territory now in UN control — and Famagusta would come under Greek Cypriot control, adding he was referring to more than the fenced-off ‘ghost town’ of Varosha.

But, he underlined, there could be no solution if Morphou was not on the table. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly declared Morphou would not be given back.

On the property issue, Anstasiades also said the European Court had already ruled the user of a property — as well as the owner — also has rights.

Under a settlement deal, the Greek Cypriot owner of a property in the north would have five options — complete restoration, partial restoration, compensation, exchange, or given an alternative remedy.

When it comes to the rotating presidency of a post-solution Cyprus, a demand of the Turkish Cypriot side, Anastasiades confirmed this was currently on the table. Although he did not comment on it last night, in the past, the President has indicated this is something he is opposed to.

Referring to Turkey’s demand for EU accession progress at the Brussels summit Anastasiades said: “I asked the European leaders, if their country was under occupation, would they agree to open these chapters? They understood”.

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