Cyprus President: Turkish Cypriot side's proposals disregard the agreed basis
Nicosia, Jan 20 – Cyprus President Demetris Christofias has expressed regret over the proposals submitted by the Turkish Cypriot side in the ongoing UN-led negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem, noting that such proposals, which contradict the agreed basis for a Cyprus settlement cannot be accepted by the Cypriot side.
In a letter to the United Nations and the European Union, dated January 13, 2010, President Christofias recounted Turkish Cypriot proposals on governance, pointing out that these proposals were even more one-sided than those outlined in the Annan plan, which was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side during the 2004 separate referenda.
Noting that the Annan plan was a product of ''one-sided arbitration in favor of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side'' and that it provided for a ''non-functional and non-viable proposed settlement,'' the President stated that ''it was, therefore, essential to bring about such substantial improvements in the various aspects of the Cyprus problem that would allow a possible agreement to be acceptable to the Greek Cypriots.''
President Christofias pointed out that “throughout the current negotiating process, the Greek Cypriot side has consistently adhered to this approach,'' adding that in the “presentation of its positions at the negotiation table, the Greek Cypriot side has been extremely careful to avoid tipping the sensitive balance created all these years in the framework of the Secretary-General's Good Offices.''
''Indeed, every neutral observer would easily conclude that our positions respect this balance, especially issues such as that of representation in the federal institutions, decision-making, etc, which concern the agreed basis/framework of a solution, namely, one state with a single sovereignty, single international personality and single citizenship; a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality as set out in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions,'' he stated.
President Christofias noted that ''the Greek Cypriot side, in proposing the rotating presidency with weighted voting, had the intention of strengthening the institution of the Presidency for the benefit of both communities whilst maintaining some of the elements that comprised the Annan plan’s proposal on the executive,'' recalling that the Annan Plan proposed a rotation period of 4:2 for the executive. President Christofias also added that the Annan Plan incorporated the principle of cross voting to elect the executive.
''These elements were fully observed in the Greek Cypriot proposal, which enshrines the concept that the political weight of the Turkish Cypriot community in electing the Greek Cypriot President/Vice president is equal to the political weight of the Greek Cypriots in electing the Turkish Cypriot President/Vice President,'' President Christofias noted.
''It is thus regrettable that the Turkish Cypriots did not adhere to a similar standpoint. Many of their positions contradict both the agreed basis, as well as the sensitive balance, created throughout these years,'' the President underlined.
Whereas the Annan Plan provided for rotational presidency on a 2:1 ratio, despite the population ratio being 4:1, the Turkish Cypriots now insist on a ratio of 3:2, the President pointed out.
Furthermore, while the Annan Plan provided for a 6:3 ratio for the Council of Ministers, the latest Turkish Cypriot side insists on a 7:5 ratio.
With regard to decision-making in the Council of Ministers, the President pointed out that the Annan Plan provided for at least one vote from each community, while the Turkish Cypriot side demands that both the President and the Vice President concurrently cast favorable votes in order for a decision to be finalized.
The President further noted that while the Annan Plan provided for special majorities in the Senate only, the Turkish Cypriots insist on special majorities in the Lower House as well.
Regarding the federal departments, while the Annan Plan provided that the Director and Vice Director for 5-6 federal departments will not hail from the same federal unit and that the decisions will be taken jointly, the Turkish Cypriot side demands this to be in force for all federal departments, institutions and administrative organs.
With regard to external relations, the President noted that while the Annan Plan provided that decisions on external relations within the sphere of competences of the constituent states shall be made after consultation with them, the position of the Turkish Cypriot side is that such decisions shall be made in agreement with them.
Furthermore, the President indicated that while the Annan Plan provided that the federated units have a right to conclude international agreements on commercial and cultural matters, the Turkish Cypriot side demands such right for all the competences of the federated units, which inter alia, would contradict the agreed principle of a single international personality.
Regarding the Flight Information Region (FIR), President Christofias pointed out that whereas the Annan plan provided for a single FIR, the Turkish Cypriot side demands two FIRs.
''The above instances show that the Turkish Cypriot side supports positions, which disregard the agreed basis and the sensitive balances which have been shaped during decades of negotiations. It is not possible to expect the Greek Cypriot side to accept positions, which are beyond the balances and in fact to such a degree,'' President Christofias noted, underlying that ''even if we were to accept them, it is certain that they would be rejected in a new referendum, disastrous for the prospects of a mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus problem.”
President Christofias also referred to the intensified round of talks, noting that they are ''of vital importance for the outcome of the entire effort,'' adding that ''it is obvious that in order to continue to a final round, there must be such convergence which would allow for this to take place.''
''This is further necessitated because, as we had agreed, this time there will be no arbitration, but a clearly Cypriot-owned solution,'' the President said.
President Christofias concluded that the ''Greek Cypriot side wishes to assure you of its unwavering commitment to the aim of reaching a comprehensive settlement based on the UN Security Council Resolutions, the values and principles of the EU as well as on the agreed framework for a single, federal, bizonal, bicommunal state, with single sovereignty, single international personality, single citizenship and political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council resolutions, that would safeguard the human rights and freedoms of all Cypriots.''