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Talks move up a gear

By Lefteris Adilinis
Convergences on important issues such as the number of deputies in the federal Upper and Lower House, an understanding on economic matters and positive signs on security have raised the mood at Cyprus peace negotiations.

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot teams meet near daily having all difficult aspects on the table.
Their first priority, of course, is to find common ground on the property issue and The Cyprus Weekly understands that there was a lot of activity on this aspect in the past few days. An initial deal on property criteria will allow headway on other thorny aspects such as territory and citizenship.

Encouraging news
Insiders pointed out this week that apart from the property issue, negotiators are doing well on other aspects and the teams have some new convergences to build on.

In governance, there is agreement on the number of deputies in the Upper and Lower House of the federal Parliament. We understand that a similar deal will define the constituent states’ representation in the federal public sector.

Talks are moving along as far as economy and European issues are concerned. There were, of course, tentative moments as well as outright disagreement on whether there should be permanent derogations form the acquis communautaire.

The Turkish Cypriots were insisting on derogations as well as on making any future settlement primary law of the Union. When such difficulties come up, the European Commission representative, Pieter van Nuffel, steps in, making clear when and where derogations could be accepted. The public notion that the Greek Cypriots do not want permanent derogations is not correct. On the contrary, Nicos Anastasiades’ team insists on a permanent ceiling in the number of Turkish and Greek nationals allowed to be citizens of a federal Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriots need to realise that international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank will scrutinise their finances. And most likely will recommend an assistance programme (a kind of Troika MoU) for a certain period after the solution.

Security and guarantees

The two leaders will be discussing security and guarantees during intensive talks in November and December. As the Cyprus Weekly reported, Turkey has indicated its readiness to discuss guarantees without a military element. The Turkish Cypriots have also suggested that guarantees could continue for a fixed period after a solution.

The whole issue could be seen from two angles. First is the implementation of the solution, where the UN blue berets will get a stronger mandate, helped by a European police force similar to the one operated in Bosnia.

The second angle is state security, where Greek Cypriots ask to implement the Chapter 7 of the UN Charter allowing UN forces to intervene militarily in case of trouble. Greek Cypriots also argue that guarantees should be abolished when a solution is fully implemented, that is, in approximately five years’ time.

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