President Mustafa Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu, said yesterday that the agreed issues in the negotiations for finding a solution to the Cyprus problem are in the majority. Speaking for the first time to the press after his appointment, Burcu recalled that the Turkish Cypriot positions on which agreement has not been reached are written in red and the Greek Cypriot positions on which agreement is not reached in blue. Noting that the leaders will be meeting on 29th June for the fourth time, Burcu said that they have prepared the most comprehensive document since the Annan Plan.
Burcu described as “AA Documents”, that is “Akinci/Anastasiades documents”, the comprehensive document produced at the conclusion of all the work that has been done, adding, however, that it is not possible to say that agreement has been reached on all chapters, in spite of the fact that a comprehensive document was produced.
He said that Akinci carries out the negotiating process in three dimensions: The first is “the cultural transformation of the commitment and the will of the communities to peace”. The second is the confidence building measures and the third is “a comprehensive solution for the creation of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federal structure based on political equality”.
Burcu noted that the language of peace used by Akinci in this process, the emphasis he places on [Cyprus being the two communities’] common country and his statements that the Greek Cypriots should be seen as future partners not enemies, have been positively received by the people and this reflected by the support offered to the social activities of the two leaders.
He said that in spite of the fact that there is no timetable for the negotiations, all issues are on the table and a speedy and productive process is anticipated. He noted that on the chapter on ‘territory’, they worked only on the criteria for territorial adjustments and no maps or percentages were discussed. On the chapter of ’security and guarantees’ only the issue of internal security was taken up, he added noting that no detailed screening on the issue of guarantees was carried out because they have no right to make any arrangements on this agreement without the signatures of all parties concerned. He said that everybody’s common wish is for a meeting to be held in September in New York on the issue of guarantees rather than on an “interim agreement”.
Responding to a question, he said that the issue of guarantees will be discussed, but “after the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots cover certain distance on certain chapters”. He noted that the territorial adjustments, the percentages and even the treaty of guarantees will come on to the agenda, adding that “these are not taboos”. “They are not untouchable issues, but the discussion of these issues has been postponed a little within the framework of being more productive and showing more respect to the international law”, he added.
Burcu argued that they share a common vision with Turkey for the solution and that President Anastasiades has made use of the newly created climate and contributes positively to the process by developing a common language and a vision focused on the solution.
He argued that holding a multi-party meeting in New York in September is the wish of all sides that expect a solution to be reached, but there is no agreement or timetable on this issue.
Referring to the stance of Akinci regarding confidence building measures (CBM), Burcu said that the CBMs should create confidence and there is no need to commit new mistakes, new points of conflict for the sake of new CBMs. He noted that the sides considered it appropriate to form a common list of CBMs instead of separate measures. He added that the measures should provide equal and maximum benefit to both communities, and be speedily applicable and practical.
Asked to comment on the fact that the issue of the fenced off city of Varosha is not discussed within the framework of the CBMs, Burcu responded that the issue has been generally evaluated and has not come under any chapter of measures. He noted that Varosha is an important issue but cannot open from the one day to the other. “A feasibility study should be held first and a team could be formed for this, but the developments experienced in the process are creating the hope that we could acquire overall possibilities without needing this”, he added.
Referring to the basic aim of the process, Burcu said: “The fundamental aim of the negotiating process is a bi-zonal, bi-communal united Cyprus based on political equality, being an EU member, taking as the basis the prosperity, happiness and safety of both communities. This is our fundamental aim. We are very relaxed on the issue of the ground of the negotiations, because President Akinci has accepted and supported all the agreements reached until today and stated that he would continue on that basis”.