Their first meeting will take place in Nicosia on Tuesday. U.S. played instrumental role in the agreement. VP Biden spoke with Cypriot President and expressed support for a just and viable solution.
Nicosia.- President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroglu will meet in the United Nations protected area of Nicosia at the Good Offices Mission on Tuesday at 11.30am the UN announced on Saturday. Both leaders announced their agreement to a draft joint declaration on Friday, paving the way for the resumption of the stalled peace talks. There are no plans, at this stage, for Alexander Downer, UN special envoy, to visit the island over the weekend, according to diplomatic sources.
The sources added that the UN will be represented by Chief of Mission and UN Secretary General’s Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim.
The latest UN-led round of talks was suspended by the Turkish Cypriot side in July 2012, when Cyprus assumed the presidency of the Council of the European Union. In the past few months, the negotiators of the two sides have been meeting in an effort to agree on a joint statement that would pave the way for the resumption of talks which lead to a political settlement to reunite the country.
On Thursday, Eroglu had received a phone call from US Deputy Secretary of State William J. Burns. Meanwhile Turkish Cypriot negotiator Osman Ertug will be replaced by Kudret Ozersay.
On Thursday, following tweaks to the previous draft communiqué, President Nicos Anastasiades approved the final text, drawing fire from coalition partners DIKO and EVROKO as well as minority opposition parties EDEK, the Greens and Citizens’ Alliance. Only ruling DISY and main opposition AKEL offered their support for the start of talks.
President Anastasiades told a press conference that a draft joint declaration offers “serious prospects” for concluding the declaration which will meet the basic principles for a Cyprus solution and lead to the resumption of Cyprus talks.”
“The effort to conclude a joint declaration is the start of an arduous and painstaking effort to finally reach a Cyprus solution. The declaration is not the end, it is not the solution,” the President stressed in his remarks.
Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Saturday had a telephone conversation with his counterpart of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu, to discuss the latest developments in the Cyprus issue.
“All the sides involved, especially the guarantor powers, should back the negotiations”, Davutoglu said in a message on his personal account on Twitter.
On Friday, the Turkish minister discussed the latest Cyprus developments also with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and his British counterpart William Hague.
The Cyprus issue was also touched upon during a meeting at Russia’s Sochi between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Following the first joint meeting, the UN, EU and many stakeholders are expected to issue statements in support of the new effort. The new talks are expected to last about 18 months and the US that played an instrumental role in the agreement will be very active.
US Vice President Joe Biden, in a telephone conversation with President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades on Friday, underscored the unwavering U.S. support for a just and lasting settlement to achieve the re-unification of Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
He said Washington looks forward to successful resumption of the U.N.-led talks in the coming days, and encouraged creative thinking on ways to improve prospects for success.
The office of the Vice President, in a readout of Vice President Biden`s call with President Anastasiades, said that “in a call today with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Vice President Biden expressed appreciation for the Republic of Cyprus as a key partner in a vital region”.
It added “the Vice President reiterated our commitment to deepening cooperation with Cyprus to advance our mutual interests. He committed to exploring new opportunities to promote Cyprus’ economic recovery and growth and to bring peace, stability, and prosperity to the island and the region”.
Finally, “Vice President Biden underscored unwavering U.S. support for a just and lasting settlement to achieve the re-unification of Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation, looked forward to successful resumption of the U.N.-led talks in the coming days, and encouraged creative thinking on ways to improve prospects for success”.
The final draft of the joint communiqué as has been leaked to the press:
The two leaders had their first meeting today under the auspices of the UN Secretary General’s Good Offices mission. The meeting was held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere and the two leaders have agreed to the following:
1. The status quo is unacceptable and its prolongation will have negative consequences for the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The leaders affirmed that a settlement would have a positive impact on the entire region, while first and foremost benefiting Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, respecting democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as each other’s distinct identity and integrity and ensuring their common future in a united Cyprus within the European Union.
2. The leaders expressed their determination to resume structured negotiations in a results-oriented manner. All unresolved core issues will be on the table and will be discussed interdependently. The leaders will aim to reach a settlement as soon as possible and hold separate simultaneous referenda thereafter.
3. The settlement will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality as set out in the relevant Security Council Resolutions and the High Level Agreements. The united Cyprus, as a member of the United Nations and of the European Union, shall have a single, international legal personality and a single sovereignty which is defined as the sovereignty which is enjoyed by all members States of the United Nations, under the UN Charter and which emanates equally from Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. There will be a single united Cyprus citizenship, regulated by federal law. All citizens of the United Cyprus shall also be citizens of either the Greek-Cypriot constituent state or the Turkish-Cypriot constituent state. This status shall be internal and shall complement and not substitute in any way the united Cyprus citizenship.
The powers of the federal government and like matters that are clearly incidental to its specified powers, will be assigned by the constitution. The Federal constitution will also provide for the residual powers to be exercised by the constituent states. The constituent states will exercise fully and irrevocably all their powers free from encroachment by the federal government. The federal laws will not encroach upon constituent state laws within the constituent states’ area of competences and the constituent states’ laws will not encroach upon the federal laws within the federal government’s competences. Any dispute in respect thereof will be adjudicated finally by the Federal Supreme Court. Neither side may claim authority or jurisdiction over the other.
4. The united Cyprus federation shall result from the settlement following the settlement’s approval by separate simultaneous referenda. The Federal constitution shall prescribe that the united Cyprus federation shall be composed of two constituent states of equal status. The bi-zonal, bi-communal nature of the federation and the principles upon which the EU is founded will be safeguarded and respected throughout the island. The Federal constitution shall be the supreme law of the land and will be binding on all the federation’s authorities and on the constituent states. Union in whole or in part with any other country or any form of partition or secession or any other unilateral change to the state of affairs will be prohibited.
5. The negotiations are based on the principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.
6. The appointed representatives are fully empowered to discuss any issue at any time and should enjoy parallel access to all stakeholders and interested parties in the process, as needed. The leaders of the two communities will meet as often as needed. They retain the ultimate decision-making power. Only an agreement freely reached by the leaders may be put to separate simultaneous referenda. Any kind of arbitration is excluded.
7. The sides will seek to create a positive atmosphere to ensure the talks succeed. They commit to avoiding blame games or other negative public comments on the negotiations. They also commit to efforts to implement confidence building measures that will provide dynamic impetus to the prospect for a united Cyprus.
8. The leaders also announce… (Whatever else may arise)