Cyprus bilateral negotiations restart in Geneva

SALVATORE DI NOLFI / POOL

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) arrives with Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide (R) for a new round of Cyprus Peace Talks, at the European headquarters of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, 09 January 2017.

Bilateral talks should pave the way for multilateral talks to engaging Greece, Turkey, and the U.K as guarantor powers


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Negotiations restart for the reunification of Cyprus on Monday.

The President of the Republic of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are in Geneva for three days of negotiation (9-11 January), wrapping the details of what is hoped to be either a settlement or a framework agreement for the island’s reunification.

On Sunday, Akinci said he remains optimistic, although there should not be “exaggerated expectations.” President Anastasiades has refused to speak of either optimism or pessimism. Progress between the two communities will determine when the so-called “guarantor powers” will be involved: namely, Greece, Turkey, and the U.K. A multilateral meeting is scheduled for January 12.

The new U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is hoping for a breakthrough. It is still unclear whether the UN Secretary will be present in Geneva throughout the negotiations.

Territorial delineation for the constituent entities of a future federation does not appear to be the main issue in this round of negotiations. “Security” is at the heart of the negotiation and, specifically, the presence of 30,000 Turkish troops on the island’s north.

Following talks in Mont-Pelerin, Switzerland, in November, the two sides did not conclude on criteria for territorial adjustments, but in subsequent negotiations, in December some progress was reported.

The island remains divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the island following a coup backed by the Greek colonel’s regime. Britain appears ready to relinquish approximately half of the territory it holds on the island to facilitate an agreement.

Any deal made must win over public opinion, as the two communities will have to ratify the agreement in a referendum. A 2004 deal was rejected by Greek Cypriots.

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