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Current negotations almost parallel to Annan plan

22 March 2016

Agreements reached between Presidents Akinci and Anastasiades are almost identical to the 2004 Annan plan, which was rejected by the majority of Greek Cypriots, EDEK leader Marinos Sizopoulos has said.

On Monday, as he had promised, he released further details of recent Greek Cypriot National Council minutes covering the Cyprus negotiations.

He accused President Anastasiades of reneging on his pre-election promise not to renegotiate the 2004 Annan plan, and of betraying the trust of the Greek Cypriots.

“In other words, we are proving that the settlement plan being discussed by Mr Anastasiades is identical to the plan which was rejected by the Cypriot people in 2004.

“Mr Anastasiades and the leaderships of DISY and AKEL, who support his Cyprus policy, have demonstrably, systematically and methodically misinformed the Cypriot people on how the talks have been progressing thus far.”

The EDEK leader provided a three-page list comparing details of the Annan plan to the Anastasiades-Akinci convergences.

The Annan plan stated that the constituent states would exercise sovereignty over all powers not included in the federal government’s constitution. This was a model that more resembled a confederation, not a federal system, he argued. Equally, the Anastasiades-Eroglu joint statement of February 11th, 2014, says that the constituent states will be vested with all the powers not delegated to the federal government, and will exercise those powers without interference from the federal government, he said.

A condition regarding jurisdiction of the constituent states, which under the Annan plan would be able to make their own trade and cultural agreements with the outside world has been slightly amended recently.  It now stipulates that the constituent states can enter into agreements (cultural, education, religious and trade) with countries which hold diplomatic relations with Republic of Cyprus.

As to the composition of the Constitutional Court in a reunited Cyprus, Sizopoulos said the Annan plan provided for an equal number of judges from each of the constituent states, plus three non-Cypriot judges.

National Council minutes show that Anastasiades and Akinci have agreed that the Constitutional Court would comprise four Greek Cypriot and four Turkish Cypriot judges, whereas on constitutional matters a foreign judge would preside and have the casting vote in the case of a tie.

Regarding the property commission, Sizopoulos noted that the Annan plan specified an equal number of members from each constituent state as well as one non-Cypriot member; the National Council minutes show that the commission is to comprise 10 teams, each consisting of one Greek Cypriot and one Turkish Cypriot, and one foreign expert acting as chair.

Sizopoulos’ list cites the Annan plan, which stated that the claims of owners would be resolved in a comprehensive manner according to international law, respect for the individual rights of owners who have been deprived of possession, and respect for the rights of current users and the principle of bi-zonality.

In addition, under the Annan plan, for areas not subject to territorial re-adjustment, arrangements for exercising property rights would be based on restitution or compensation.

By comparison, according to the National Council minutes, the rights of legal owners are recognised, as are the rights of current users, provided the latter are “citizens of the ‘breakaway regime’ [TRNC] and have had the property in their possession for a time period greater than five years as of the date of the signing of the agreement.”

The Anastasiades-Akinci convergences, as presented by Sizopoulos, also lay out the criteria to be taken into account by the property commission in assigning priority over a property, such as the value of the property and the ‘emotional factor.’ Methods of redress include part or complete restitution, exchange, compensation or a combination of those.

The EDEK leader said that if the National Council’s aim is to keep people in ignorance and to mislead them, “they are deluding themselves,” he said.

Sizopoulos has been accused by the South’s government of being very selective about what he has chosen to leak from the minutes of the Council’s meeting, in order to give a distorted image of the negotiations.

Critics of the EDEK leader could say that similarities between the Annan plan and the current negotiations would be inevitable. What might be up for debate is to how much difference there is, at the heart of the two negotiations.

Cyprus Mail

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