UN chief prepares ground for tomorrow's Cyprus meetings
By Maria Myles--
Paris, Sep 5 (CNA) -- As President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot
leader Rauf Denktash are putting the final touches on what they have to say
at tomorrow's meeting here with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the UN
chief too is putting together his own thoughts about what to tell the two
leaders with one objective in mind ? to find ways to make headway in this
stalled peace process.
According to diplomatic sources, the Secretary General is expected to give the two leaders "specific but different" messages to emphasise that they "have to engage in some serious negotiations and get down to real business" at the negotiating table in the weeks ahead. Annan is expected to stress the imperative need to reach a settlement at this juncture when a real window of opportunity exists and is set to underscore the negative repercussions that failure to do so would entail. He will also reiterate to Clerides and Denktash that they should at least crack the four main issues under discussion (governance, security, territory and property), bearing always in mind the timeframe of Cyprus' accession course and the December EU decision on enlargement, which, barring a miracle, will include Cyprus too. The same sources have told CNA that the Secretary General is expected to express once again to Denktash his concern about the lack of progress and is set to remind him that the issue of sovereignty, as the Turkish Cypriot leader understands and interprets it, although part of the discussions it cannot prejudge the conclusion of the negotiations.| Sovereignty, or as Denktash puts it the definition of his status, has been a major stumbling block in the effort to achieve progress in the eight-month long period of direct talks Annan's special adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto has been conducting on the island. Bearing this in mind, the Secretary General might try to circumvent this specific issue by attempting to clarify it and separate the powers of the component states from the sovereignty of the state of Cyprus. As one senior diplomat has explained to CNA, the competency for the exercise of authority on a regional level by various bodies does not mean and cannot be interpreted as infringement on the sovereignty of the state, a notion which Denktash does not seem to understand. The same diplomatic sources have said that the vast gap that separates the positions of the two sides on the issue of sovereignty could be narrowed by applying EU norms, something that could give Annan a way out of this maze. Foreign policy, defence matters as well as monetary and fiscal policies will rest with the central government, which will take its cue from Brussels whereas other areas such as education, health, agriculture, fisheries will be decided, with respect to EU rules, by the authorities of the two component states. This, political analysts believe, does not in any way entail the right to separate sovereignty for the two component states. Once the Secretary General gets this sorted out with the two leaders, he can concentrate on the task at hand, namely to urge strongly the two leaders for a compromise agreement. Today Annan is conferring with Alvaro de Soto, who is accompanied by his legal aide Robert Dann at the Paris meetings which will take place at the Bristol hotel. The Secretary General is likely to make a statement after the working lunch.