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Guterres arrival signals crunch time at Crans-Montana

6 July 2017

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will be taking over negotiations in Crans-Montana on Thursday morning.

His aim is to get a framework agreement on the package he reconfirmed with the five parties involved in the Cyprus problem on Tuesday night, the ‘Cyprus Weekly’ reports.

In the event of the best outcome, the UN plans to bring the prime ministers representing the guarantor countries to Geneva to seal a framework deal on Monday July 10 at the Palais de Nations, the UN’s European headquarters. This is a provisional plan depending on if Guterres can wield the same influence as he did last Friday to move the talks on.

His goal is to help the Conference’s delegation leaders from both sides, the three guarantors, Turkey, Greece and UK, as well as EU representatives, to link up and bridge the differences on the most fundamental issues of the political problem.

Diplomatic sources told the Cyprus Weekly that trade-offs on five basic issues will determine the outcome of Conference.

Before UNSG Guterres’ arrival in Switzerland, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades made a proposal “to break the impasse”, as he described it, and announced it at ‘Table 1’ – the first table on security – on Wednesday night.

In general terms he offered:

To discuss the issue of a rotating presidency.

A Turkish Cypriot vote in federal bodies on certain defined subjects as long as there are also deadlock-breaking mechanisms.

A number of Turkish policemen to be part of the international force, under EU command, that would take over the security of a Federal Cyprus.

He took a step back on Greek Cypriot positions on property and is prepared to respect the ‘emotional connection’, the principle of one-third reinstatement for certain types of property, and mechanisms to deal with significant improvement of property.

He accepted full equal EU rights for Turkish students, tourists and labourers, but for Turkish permanent residence in Cyprus he asked for a ratio of 4:1 to be agreed.

In return, Anastasiades requests:

The abolition of guarantees and intervention rights and drastic reduction of troops from day 1, and the full withdrawal of troops according to an agreed, short timetable.

The return of Morphou/Guzelyurt and other areas in ways to facilitate the return of nearly two-thirds of dispossessed Greek Cypriots to areas under Greek Cypriot control.

To protect certain Turkish Cypriot products from Turkish competition for a limited period.

The Cyprus Weekly has learned that in the previous days President Anastasiades had been under immense pressure to make a move on the ‘internal’ aspects of the problem, in anticipation of ensuring gains on security, troops and guarantees.

Cyprus Weekly understands that the above are negotiable terms and Greek Cypriots are preparing themselves for a heated give and take session under Guterres’ guidance on Thursday.

In response to Anastasiades’ proposals, Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, said Anastasiades’ proposal was “just for a show”.

Additionally, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu criticised Anastasiades for leaking his proposal before it was officially tabled at the Conference. He also said that he did not see anything new in it.

Cyprus Weekly

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