Excerpts from the opening statement of the President of the Republic at the Press conference on the Cyprus problem

The negotiating framework deals with the evolution of the domestic structure of the State of the Republic of Cyprus (in other words, exclusively of the domestic structure) from a unitary to a federal system of governance, on the basis of a bizonal, bicommunal Federation.

I want, right from the beginning, to clear up again, as I have done repeatedly, that I consider it totally baseless for the allegation to be brought up that the solution being negotiated will lead to a solution of Confederation and not of Federation.

The foundation of the Republic of Cyprus, in other words, the Treaty of Establishment of 1960, will remain undisturbed in force, while Cyprus will continue to be a member of the United Nations, a member of the European Union, a member of various international organizations of which we are members, while the international treaties that have been signed since the establishment of the Republic will also be in force.

From the negotiations to this day, it follows very clearly that the three basic principles, in other words, the one and only international personality, the one and only sovereignty and the one and only citizenship, which characterize independent and sovereign states according to international law, will be fully safeguarded.

From the negotiations to this day, significant progress is noted on the chapters of Governance and Distribution of Powers, the European Union, the Economy, as well as, to a lesser extent, of the chapter on Property.

In the framework of the negotiations, the safeguarding of a strong, effective and functional system of governance is aimed at.

It has been agreed that each of the (constituent) states will have, among others, exclusive competence to maintain its own independent system of social security, its own health system, its own educational system, its own local self-administration; as it will also safeguard the special ethnic, cultural and religious characteristics of each community.

In addition, the obligation of each of the (constituent) states to safeguard economic viability is also provided for. At the same time, there will be strict rules for securing healthy competition.

Of decisive importance for the achievement of significant convergences is the status of our country as a member state of the European Union and the necessity to reconcile basic components of the solution with the European acquis, something we have achieved with the more active involvement of the EU at the negotiating table, which, among other things, has made inevitably certain the implementation of human rights and the implementation of the basic freedoms which are fully safeguarded.

More specifically, in the framework of the solution:

o Each citizen will be able to move freely throughout the state of Cyprus, without any restriction.

o Everyone, from us or the Turkish Cypriots, the lawful citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, will have the right of choice for the place of settlement, whereas also safeguarded is the right of property acquisition, of employment and business activities, wherever they wish.

For the sake of safeguarding the above, and bizonality of course, it has been accepted to regulate the electoral rights, of those who will enjoy the above rights, but will be coming from the other constituent state.

In other words, if someone chooses to be employed, to reside, to acquire property in the Turkish Cypriot constituent state, but they are citizens of the Greek Cypriot (constituent state), they will have this right and if they have not acquired the permanent residence, they will exercise their electoral rights as in the case of voters, who exercise their right to vote in a municipality or community other than the one, in whose electoral rolls they are registered.

Another one of the political convergences is the way of addressing the biggest concern of the Cypriot Hellenism with regard to the alteration of the demographic composition of the population of Cyprus, since it has been safeguarded that the demographic character of the island on the first day of the solution will reflect, with a small deviation, the demographic composition of the Republic of Cyprus of 1960.

The most important thing is that, through the above regulation, both the present and the future are safeguarded, since for a citizen of Turkey to acquire Cypriot citizenship, the granting of the same status to four persons coming from Greece must precede that.

Without hiding important disagreements that continue to exist on the chapter of Property, I cannot ignore the progress that has been achieved with the recognition of the right of ownership through specific procedures and remedies such as:

o Full resettlement,

o Partial resettlement,

o Alternative resettlement, and

o Compensation.

The protection of the above right is further safeguarded through the free choice of the owner -if he/she is not satisfied with the decisions of the domestic legal means- to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

In a spirit of mutual understanding it is being discussed, among other things, that from the first day:

o The sealed-off area of Famagusta will be returned to its lawful inhabitants.

o There will be an immediate return of the uninhabited areas and the no-man’s land that are slated for return to their lawful owners.

o There will be a withdrawal of a significant number of occupation forces.

The fundamental issues of Security and Guarantees, and Territory, which will be decisive with regard to the final outcome, have not yet been items of substantial dialogue.

It is well known that on both issues there is a significant divergence between the positions of the two sides. I want to hope that in the negotiations that will take place as of Monday in Switzerland, we will have such progress that will create the prospect for us to also move forward to the substantial discussion of the chapters of security and guarantees.

I want to make clear that for a hope for a positive conclusion to exist, the rhetoric for a desire of a solution is not enough; that the rhetoric about an understanding of the concerns of the Greek Cypriots is not enough.

It must be realized that a dignified solution to the Cyprus problem and acceptable by everybody, will be to the benefit of both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots; A solution that will not leave behind winners and losers. That such a solution will also be to the benefit of Turkey itself, as well as to the Turkish people.

That is why I consider of great significance, the decisive contribution of Turkey, but also of the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, in the efforts that are being made.

I want to assure you that I am going to Switzerland with determination, good will and the necessary willingness, having in mind that the solution must correspond to the expectations and to allay the concerns of the people of Cyprus.

Source: Press and Information Office.