The discussion on the ability of constituent states to sign international treaties has been essentially concluded, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades has said on Wednesday, while explaining that such treaties will be feasible in a limited number of areas, following a specific procedure.
President Anastasiades met earlier this morning with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, in the framework of intensified talks for a Cyprus settlement. In statements at the Presidential Palace, after the meeting, the President said that they also discussed the external relations of constituent states, over which there has been significant progress, with some details still pending.
In their next meeting, on Friday, the President noted that the leaders will continue their discussion on the economy and other topics, in an effort to address existing differences.
Asked about yesterday`s announcement over the procedure that will be followed in the settlement talks, and which has triggered subsequently reactions among political parties, the President replied that “what matters is not the procedure, but the essence”.
Returning from a similar meeting on Tuesday, President Anastasiades stated that the two sides had agreed to intensify talks in October with an aim to overcome difficulties in the four chapters that are currently under discussion, i.e. Governance, Economy, EU affairs and Property. If progress is reached, they will then continue with the discussion of the fifth chapter on Territory, probably abroad and if conditions allow, they will finally broach the issue of Security and Guarantees in the framework of a multilateral conference.
Commenting on the procedure that has been agreed, the President underlined on Wednesday that it contains “no strict timetables” or “any sort of arbitration”. Asked if progress in the four chapters that are currently under discussion is a precondition to go on with the discussion on Territory, he replied that this is not necessary. He noted however that in order to have progress in the chapter of Property, there must be progress in Territory as well.
Asked if a meeting to discuss territorial adjustments will take place abroad in November, President Anastasiades replied that “no meeting has been set”, although the Greek Cypriot side would prefer to accelerate things in order to reach an agreement, and not an interim one as some say.
On another question, about the conditions that would allow a multilateral conference on Security and Guarantees to convene, the President said that progress over the previous five chapters is needed that will allow for the discussion of the sixth chapter (Security and Guarantees). He noted that this chapter also involves other parties, and in particular the Republic of Cyprus, Britain, Greece and Turkey.
“If there is previously no satisfying progress, how can I go and discuss the international aspect that concerns Security and Guarantees” the President underlined.
He said finally that the issue of rotating presidency was not discussed today or will be discussed in the present phase of negotiations.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third. President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May last year with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.