President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has stressed that the Greek Cypriot side has clearly indicated during the ongoing negotiations for a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus issue that it is unacceptable for an EU member state to be subjected to any form of guarantees.
Addressing the House of Representatives after the plenary`s legislative work was completed, he said he is presenting the facts as they are, the prospects and opportunities offered, as well as the consequences to Cypriot Hellenism of either a solution or a new impasse.
He asked that today`s presentation should not be used as an excuse to start a public debate “or worse, unnecessary arguments”.
In his speech, he referred to a number of issues in which there is common understanding between the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot sides at the negotiating table and referred to satisfactory progress on some of the chapters under discussion and the differences between the two sides.
President Anastasiades said there is common understanding on securing the fundamental freedoms as those are defined by the acquis communautaire, ie freedom of movement of persons, freedom of settlement, acquisition of property, respect in securing the bizonal and bicommunal nature of the state. He also said that the demographic composition of the people, from the first day of the agreement, will reflect, with minor changes, the demographic composition of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960 when the Republic was established.
The President`s speech was divided into four entities, the basis of a solution, the progress of the ongoing dialogue, international, European and regional developments and concerns over the prescribed course.
President Anastasiades said that it must become clear to all, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, that the solution should be the result of an honorable compromise that will create conditions of mutual respect, that will not allow the imposition of the minority over the majority, let alone vice versa. “An agreement that does not create either winners or losers”, he stressed.
The President said that references to the risks of a non-solution should not be perceived that he will accept a plan that does not meet the expectations or concerns of the people of Cyprus, which he knows very well.
Despite the ideological differences, said President Anastasiades, “what surely does not divide us is the mutual vision of a free and reunited country, which must be secured for future generations”.
The President said that he refuses to accept the notion that the basis of a solution is leading to the dissolution of the Republic, it legitimises the faits accomplis of Turkey`s occupation and upgrades the illegal Turkish Cypriot regime in the northern occupied part of the country.
He outlined the historic facts of the Cyprus issue, noting that his six predecessors were elected with the support of the political parties inside and outside the Parliament and with a mandate to pursue a solution of the Cyprus problem in line with set out by the late President Archbishop Makarios III in February 1977. “It is becoming apparent that the political leadership has accepted that the only way to get rid of the unacceptable status quo is the evolution of Cyprus into a bizonal bicommunal federation”, the President said.
On the current state of the negotiations, the President made special reference to the joint communique of the 11th February 2014 which clearly defines the basis of a solution, securing the three fundamental principles which should define the state: international personality, sovereignty and identity, the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus, respect of human rights and the implementation of the principles and values of the European Union.
Regarding the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus, the President pointed out that if and when the leaders reach a solution, “there will not be any gap but a continuation of the current state under a new constitutional structure, from day one. The joint communique secures the fundamental structure and constitutional principles which will govern the functioning of the state that will be undergoing an evolution”.
He said that the negotiations which commenced in May 2015 under the new leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akinci, are being conducted in a “clearly different environment, despite the disagreements that have been registered”.
After a total of 21 meetings between the leaders and 76 meetings between the negotiators all aspects of the chapters concerning governance and power sharing, property, the economy and the European Union have been covered. An exchange of views has also taken place on the basis of principles concerning the chapters of territorial adjustments and security and guarantees issues.
There is a common understanding that the new structure will include the Federal Government and local governments of the two constituent states, he said and referred to the insistence of the Turkish Cypriot side on a rotating presidency, something which the Greek Cypriot side does not accept.
The Presidsent said that the legislative authority of the federal government will be exercised by two institutions, the Upper House, (the Senate) and the House of Representatives.
The Upper House will number 40 members, of whom 20 will come from one community and the remaining from the other. The House of Representatives will consist of 48 members, 75% of whom will be from the Greek Cypriot constituent state, that is 36 members, and 12 members from the Turkish Cypriot constituent state.
The judicial authority will be exercised on a federal level by the court of first instance and the court of appeals which will be the Supreme Constitutional Court of the country. An appeals court for issues concerning property will function as long as it is necessary.
“The issue of the Turkish settlers has been discussed and there is a common understanding that the demographic composition of the population, on the first day of the agreement, will reflect, with minor changes, the demographic composition of the Republic in 1960”, the President added.
On the issue of property there is common understanding in acknowledging the individual right to property and owners are given the right to resort to the Property Commission with five therapies offered, resettlement, partial restoration, alternative restoration, exchange of property and compensation.
President Anastasiades said that because of the association of the property issue with the territorial issue there cannot be a conclusion without first substantive discussion and final regulation of territorial adjustments.
On the economy, President Anastasiades said that there is common understanding that for a united and strong economy, strict regulation rules for fair competition between the two constituent states is required.
The President said that currently, there is agreement on a number of other issues such as the federal government having a single, independent central bank and the currency will be the Euro.
There will be an agreement on internal stability which will be governed by the federal law and will be valid throughout the Cyprus. The social security, pension and health systems will be separate and in the long run, their instruments should converge.
Regarding the issue of guarantees, President Anastasiades stressed that “our clear position is that an EU member state cannot be subjected to any form of guarantees”. He noted that the Turkish Cypriot side believes that any security system cannot provide protection to one of the two communities in a way which could be interpreted as a threat by the other community.
On the European Union chapter, he said that both sides understand that any transitional adjustments need to be completely necessary, absolutely specific and short term.
“It is clear that there has been satisfactory progress in some of the chapters under negotiation but at the same time there are disagreements on a number of other issues,” he added.
Despite the progress achieved, time is required to present to the people a comprehensive solution. “I hope that this will happen the soonest possible, I hope we can achieve a solution in 2016”, but “my goal is to present the people with a comprehensive proposal that will not be misrepresented and will not contain gaps and ambiguities but it will meet the concerns of the Cypriot people. ”
The President presented a number of concerns on the fallout of a solution in Turkey in relation to the facts prevailing in the region and its European aspirations. He also underlined the benefits that the international community and especially the European Union would gain from a possible solution to the Cyprus problem.
President Anastasiades said that the people of Cyprus should be interested in a solution more than anyone else and “that the solution should be the result of an honorable compromise that will create conditions of mutual respect, that will not allow the imposition of the minority on the majority, let alone vice versa. The agreement that does not create either winners or losers”.