Anastasiades says he remains committed to a federal solution

President Nicos Anastasiades said that despite time is of the essence, he would not blindly accept what is being dictated to him just because the prospect of refugees getting back their property diminishes over time.

In an interview published on Sunday, Anastasiades reiterated that without the July 4 document containing clarifications on the Guterres Framework, the terms of reference for the resumption of the settlement talks will be incomplete.

Anastasiades had said earlier in the week that, even though there’s only one document dubbed as the Guterres Framework, given to the two sides during talks in Crans Montana, Switzerland, in the summer of 2017, the government relies heavily on the clarifications on the Framework given on July 4. The Framework, the government said, does not refer to abolition of guarantees and intervention rights.

The July 4 document, however, is missing, Anastasiades had said. UN Secretary General special envoy, Jane Holl Lute, is to try and locate the document on the request of Anastasiades following their latest meeting in Nicosia.

“The question is whether and if the terms of reference can be drawn on the basis of a vague document that does not reflect what the UN Secretary-General considers as the six major issues. They (terms of reference) will be deficient,” Anastasiades told Politis.

The July 4 document is important, he said, because the proposals he had tabled on July 5 were based on it.

On how he envisages a decentralised federation, Anastasiades said that the central government’s powers can be confined to ‘the three singles’, namely one international personality, one sovereignty and one personality. This would also concern economy and EU issues.

From the moment this principle is accepted, it is a matter for both sides to negotiate as it is not up to one side to define unilaterally what decentralisation is, he said.

He made it clear that he is seeking a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

Anastasiades also said that he has never denied the positive vote of the Turkish Cypriots, but that it should be exercised if and when the interests of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state or the Turkish Cypriot community are affected.

“If there is a positive vote on all matters, there will always be concerns from the Greek Cypriot side that the system will be dysfunctional, with the risk of collapse,” he said.

These issues, he said will be dealt with by a dispute settlement mechanism.

Responding to references by Turkish Cypriot Mustafa Akinci that the effective participation of Turkish Cypriots was essential he said: “Why should we have such provisions in place that create suspicions that where there is no EU directive and it is up to a sovereign state’s policy, to be up to the positive vote of one of the communities?”

On territory, Anastasiades said that he cannot say that he accepts that areas claimed by the Greek Cypriot side will not be returned.

He said that even though he does take into consideration that time is of the essence when it comes to the issue of territory, he refuses to agree to just anything.

“Just because (Greek Cypriot) properties are lost or because Turkish intransigence does not allow for the solution of the Cyprus problem, should I accept anything dictated to me?” he asked.

Referring to the case of Kyrenia, he said that from the 4,000 inhabitants the town of Kyrenia had in 1974, the number has now shot up to 44,000, just in the town, not the district.

“How much we will still fool the Keryneans that they will be able to return or that the situation will not change for the worse?” he asked. He said that the situation has already been altered.

Anastasiades said that the continuation of the deadlock “does not mean continuation of the present unacceptable situation.”

The point, he said, is to find  a way to bring peace and stability to the country so that problems can be solved.

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