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Anastasiades briefs parliament on negotiations

12 February 2016

President Nicos Anastasiades addressed a meeting of the House of Representatives on the subject of the Cyprus negotiations on Thursday evening.

He warned of the dangers of not solving the Cyprus problem saying:

“What I would like to reassure you is that by pointing out the dangers of a non-solution, it should not be interpreted as an attempt on my behalf to accept a plan that will not meet the expectations or concerns – which I know very well – of the Cypriot people”.

“No matter what our ideological differences are, no matter what our disagreements are, what certainly does not find us divided is the common vision of our country’s liberation and reunification.”

In a lengthy speech, Anastasiades noted the convergences and divergences reached between himself and President Mustafa Akinci since the talks began last May. He also mentioned the more positive atmosphere of the talks, which had emerged since the election of Akinci.

Pointing to one of the areas of disagreement – the structure of the federal government, Anastasiades said:

“I have to refer to the Turkish Cypriot side’s insistence on a rotating presidency – something that our side does not accept – and, by extension, differences on how the ministerial council should be set up.”

However, they have agreed on the ratio of members in the Upper House or Senate and the House of Representatives which are as follows:

The Upper House will be made up of 40 members, equally divided between the two communities with 20 seats each. To ensure political equality, the members of the Upper House will be elected by their own communities.

The House of Representatives will have 48 members and represent the ratio of the community split. Therefore 75% of its members will represent the Greek Cypriot constituent state.

This will give a ratio of 36 members from the Greek Cypriot constituent state and 12 members from the Turkish Cypriot state.

Regarding the chapter on immigration, citizenship and demographics, Anastasiades said that it was a “very important fact that there is convergence on the composition of the population”.

“On the very first day (of the federal country), the composition of the population – that is a four to one ratio – will also be safeguarded in the future, in relation to the granting of citizenship of the federal democracy to citizens of Turkey and of Greece”.

Referring to the issue of territory, Anastasiades noted that the Turkish Cypriot side wanted to leave discussions on this chapter to the very end of the negotiations, in order to avoid leaking of the details.

Nevertheless, there is a convergence on the discussion of criteria to govern territorial adjustments.

Regarding security and guarantees, the Greek Cypriot president said he had made it absolutely clear that it was not possible for an EU member state to be under any kind of guarantees.

Cyprus Weekly

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