The meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades yesterday was fruitful, President Mustafa Akıncı told reporters on Friday.
The informal meeting focused on two main topics; opening the two new border crossings at Derinya and Aplic and ways to move towards the Cyprus negotiations which stalled at Crans-Montana in July, 2017.
Akıncı said both border checkpoints would open 12 November, however there would be no official opening ceremony.
He said that cross-island mobile telephony had been discussed at the meeting. Another meeting could be arranged with Anastasiades before 12 November if any progress was made on this issue.
Akıncı noted that opening two new crossing parts was part of confidence building measures both sides had agreed upon. So too were enabling the use of mobiles across the island and interconnecting the electricity grids.
“The UN has been putting forward an effort on this issue and I believe it will be a positive development if we succeed in reaching an agreement on this issue”, Akıncı added.
The President said that he had asked Anastasiades to clarify what he meant by “loose federation”, something he had suggested as a model to reunite the island. Akıncı said that Anastasiades had told him that he remained committed to the idea of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal settlement, UN parameters and convergences reached to this point.
“As you all know, there have been certain discussions on different models of solution – especially a two state model. I had questioned these debates during our meeting on 16t April as well and I did so today as well. I wanted to clarify should the Greek Cypriot community want a different model as a solution, we should be able to discuss it with an open heart and honestly. As I have been informed by Mr. Anastasiades today, he is not thinking about anything outside the UN parameters and the convergences reached until today. He has expressed loyalty to the bi–zonal, bi–communal solution model however he expressed his intentions of evaluating a model in which the constituent states will have stronger powers than the central government. He expressed his views in general and broad terms.” the President said.
“Mr. Anastasiades however did not provide any specific details as to which authorities or powers he thought should be handed over to the constituent states. Let me just make one thing clear. As it has been stated by the UN Secretary General in his latest report, the time for open-ended talks is over. To conduct open-ended talks means opening the door for new inconclusive processes. We shall be conveying our views again to the UN Secretary General’s Temporary Consultant Jane Holl Lute when we meet with her next week” he said.
In response to a question on stronger constituent states, Akıncı said: “we discussed the issue of decentralisation – this is the issue of transferring power from the central government to the two equal constituent states. It must be known that when Mr. Anastasiades talks about transfer of powers, he actually wants to limit the areas in which the Turkish Cypriots will have a vote to cast. He is acting with this view in his mind. I underline that if we are going to establish a federal partnership, it is vital for the two sides participating in the decision making processes. The nature of narrow powers or wider powers is not important. What’s important is how these decisions will be taken. If there’s simple majority vote then it is not possible to say that’s a federation. It can only be a unitary state. We envisage a federal structure with two equal wings. Even if it’s only one vote, effective participation in the decision making processes is important.”
Akıncı said that he had been pleased with his meeting with Anastasiades on Friday, not only because he had found the opportunity to openly exchange views on the way forward with the Greek Cypriot leader but also because they had succeeded in implementing an agreement they had reached three and a half years ago.
“There was a lot of speculation regarding the opening of these crossing points. These have come to an end. The date is set for their opening”, Akıncı added.
The President however pointed out that today’s meeting was not in any way a resumption of the Cyprus negotiations process.
Noting that he had also found the opportunity to discuss the issue of hydrocarbons with Anastasiades, Akıncı said that he once again warned his Greek Cypriot counterpart of the crisis waiting to boil over.
“I told him that the issue should be handled through cooperation and interdependence through a formula which should not exclude Turkey or the Turkish Cypriots”, he said.
President Akıncı also said that he had highlighted the importance of Turkey-EU relations, expressing the view that the improvement of these relations would have a positive impact for Cyprus.