President Mustafa Akinci has argued that an historic opportunity for the solution of the Cyprus problem exists and everyone should contribute positively so that this opportunity is not wasted.
Speaking after his first meeting for 2017 with President Anastasiades, Akinci said that during the meeting they prepared for the talks in Geneva and added: “We will go to Geneva in a positive spirit, a constructive climate. We will hold a preparatory meeting on Sunday night in Geneva as well.”
Akinci said that they reached an understanding on the way they will work in Geneva, they discussed the opening ceremony of the Geneva negotiations and reaffirmed that the agreement reached on 1 December is still valid. Akinci reiterated that the three guarantor powers will be at the negotiating table in Geneva together with the two community leaders and noted that President Anastasiades’ statement that he will be representing both the Greek Cypriot community and the Republic of Cyprus “aims at causing an argument”. “We are not going to silence anyone”, he argued.
Akinci said that the opening ceremony of the Geneva conference will include meetings of the leaders and the guarantor powers with the newly elected UN Secretary General. Noting that the members of the UN Security Council and EU representatives will participate in the opening ceremony, Akinci reiterated that the EU representative will not be a part of the negotiations, adding that when it is needed the EU representative will be invited into the room through the UNSG’s Special Adviser, Espen Barth Eide and reply to questions.
Referring to some issues which should be agreed between 9 and 11 January for reaching a solution, Akinci said that the most important of these issues will be gathered under 8-10 chapters and on 11 and 12 January the map and the percentages will be discussed. He noted that a five-party conference will start on 12 January. He argued that the target is to solve the aforementioned issues together and noted that the reason of the failure of the talks at Mont Pelerin was that the target had been to solve only one issue.
Akinci said that all issues will not be resolved by 12 January, but in case a result satisfying both sides comes up on property, the rotating presidency, the effective participation of the Turkish Cypriots in decision making, territory and security, great success will be achieved. In this case, he added, not everything will be complete, but we will have come to the stage of reaching a solution. He noted that a period of 2-3 months is needed afterwards for settling the details and added that another three months will be required for the peoples to be briefed on the agreement so that they understand the plan and vote accordingly. He said that the referendum might be held in mid-2017.
Responding to a question, Akinci noted that the Geneva talks will be held without pre-conditions and that he does not think that not holding the international conference is possible.
Replying to another question, Akinci argued that 2017 will be a “year with problems” in case a solution is not reached and added that the hydrocarbon issue and drilling will come onto the agenda in the spring, when “new tensions will emerge”.