President Mustafa Akinci has warned against accepting everything published in the Greek Cypriot press as accurate.
He denied reports that he accepted a federal solution with a powerful central government. He noted that they have been all along saying that they accept a federation composed by two founding states with a central administration which will have as much power as is required to function along with residual powers being allocated to the federal states, within the framework of the joint declaration of 11th February 2014.
“There will be an authorisation within reasonable measures, that is, we do not talk of a unitary state, but we do not talk of confederation as well”, he added and continued: “Therefore, if you refer to a structure with very strong centre, this will take you closer to the unitary state. On the contrary, if the centre [of the structure] is very weak, this will take you closer to confederation. However, our target is federation. A bi-zonal, bi-communal federal system, the framework of which has been drawn on 11th February 2014, but came until today from the 1977-79 Agreements and was included in many documents of UN Secretary-Generals until today”.
Referring to Monday’s presidential meeting, Akinci has said that the leaders had entered into the core issues during their fourth meeting within the framework of the Cyprus talks and achieved some developments. “The continuous efforts are yielding results. In both electricity and mobile phones as well as on other issues, a certain distance has been covered”, he stated yesterday at his office after his meeting with President Anastasiades in the buffer zone under the auspices of the UN.
Recalling that the negotiators have prepared a comprehensive document determining where the sides stand on all issues, Akinci said: “Now we have intensified our efforts in order to lead the process to a comprehensive solution which will be accepted by both sides by starting from the core issues that have not been resolved yet”.
Akinci noted that they have determined the new areas to be prepared prior to their next meeting and added that the negotiators will meet three times a week and that work on these issues will continue during the next leaders’ meeting on 10th July.
Explaining how the meeting was ordered, Akinci said that they first held a face to face meeting with President Anastasiades, afterwards continued working with the negotiators and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide and at the third stage they held a meeting with the participation of the delegations.
Arguing that this method is productive, Akinci said that they understand each other better now and have found the opportunity to enter in more depth into the problems and have achieved progress within this framework.
Akinci said that they examined the implementation of the confidence building measures which they had decided during their previous meeting and determined that “progress is achieved on the decisions we have taken”. “In short I can say that our meeting today was productive. I can say that progress was achieved”, he noted.
Asked on which issues progress was achieved, he replied: “The issues of governance, property and the criteria of the territory were negotiated. Evaluations were made on these issues. Progress was achieved on some fields, but as you understand it would not be conducive to the understanding of the negotiations to mention specific details of these issues. I do not want to inflame any speculations on this issue”.
Replying to another question, Akinci said that during their next meeting the leaders may continue discussing the same chapters or they will be open to issues which the negotiators will bring in front of them for producing political decisions. He noted, however, that there are some issues which may lead the process into deadlock and cause misunderstandings, if are raised. He added: “Therefore we are trying to discuss everything in a timely fashion. This is the reason why I referred to criteria on the territory. The juncture to discuss the names of the villages, the percentages, and the maps has not been reached today. Of course, this day will also come. However, first it is an issue of going step by step to that point. We are trying to do this”.
Asked whether he believes that sufficient progress could be achieved by September, Akinci said that he wants this to happen, but he does not know whether it will happen, pointing out that they have two meetings planned for July but no meeting after that, but the negotiators will be meeting three times every week.
He noted that the leaders will take the necessary political decisions and open new fields for the negotiators so that the process proceeds, when things are produced [by the negotiators]. He said that there is no agreement that, for example, a meeting will be held in September with the participation of the guarantors in New York, after serious progress is achieved in “our internal issues”. “However, this is a target. You can think about it as an unannounced target”, he added arguing that this is what the UN officials think, but this is related to what both sides will achieve by that date.
Relating to another question, Akinci said that the citizenship and other issues will be discussed when time comes. He added that the settlers, who have come to the TRNC since 1974, have been living here for 41 years and have become as one with this place, are always placed in a separate category. They voted in the Annan Plan referendum and therefore there is absolutely no hesitation on Turkish Cypriot side’s openings on this issue.
Akinci recalled that in the past he had criticized the fact that people were brought from Turkey and were granted citizenship to secure benefits for some political parties. He argued that this was wrong and it is out of the question for such events to be repeated now.