Introductory speech of the President of the Republic at the press conference on the developments of the Cyprus problem

I would wish that today’s communication with you would be to announce further progress in the ongoing dialogue that would lead us to the final phase, in the hope of a final settlement of the unacceptable situation we have been going through during the last 42 years.

I am sincerely sorry that I am instead obliged to relate the events that led us to the failure of achieving the expected result during the discussions in Switzerland.

I would like to stress from the outset that it is not my desire to engage in a blame game, but at the same time I will not leave unanswered allegations, which place the responsibility of the failure on the Greek Cypriot side.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As it is well known, the agreement reached on the 26 October was explicit and absolutely clear, so that the meeting in Mont Pelerin would take place with prospects of success, and it provided that:

1. The negotiations would mainly focus on the issue of territory.

2. For progress to be achieved the criteria which would be reflected on maps would have to be agreed with precision, while at the same time if this was achieved, a date would be defined for a multilateral conference.

At this point, please allow me to remind you that travelling abroad was at the request of the Turkish Cypriot leader, in order -as he suggested- to negotiate freely without fear of leaks.

During the negotiations in Mont Pelerin it was agreed that the three main criteria that would define the successful outcome of the dialogue would be:

(a) The extent of the territory of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state, after the territorial adjustments

(b) The number of refugees that would return under Greek Cypriot administration and

(c) The extent of the coastline, which would surround the area of each state.

There were also guidelines or directions with regard to the shaping of the criteria.

During the negotiations, in view of the difficulties, which had arisen by the Turkish side, and to prove my political will to reach an agreement, I agreed to define the criteria with a slight deviation, which would however allow us to decide the final adjustment, instead of the initial agreement to establish the precise criteria.

In addition, I expressed my readiness to examine special adjustments on the status of the Turkish Cypriots who would remain under Greek Cypriot administration, provided that this status would also apply to the Greek Cypriots, who would choose to return to the broader area of Karpasia.

On the basis of the above, in the subsequent negotiations an agreement in principle was achieved that the extent of the Turkish Cypriot constituent state would be between 28.2% (Greek Cypriot position) and 29.2% (Turkish Cypriot position).

An extensive consultation on the other two criteria followed, with initially encouraging indications as regards the criterion relating to the extent of the coastline that would surround each State.

There was an extensive discussion on the number of refugees that would return under Greek Cypriot administration that led the UN experts to calculate, based on the initial agreement on the extent of the Turkish Cypriot State, the number of refugees that would be returning between a minimum of 78,247 and a maximum of 94,484.

During the initial stage of the second phase of the negotiations, which followed the briefing of the political party leaders in Cyprus, but also the necessary consultation with the Greek government, the Turkish Cypriot side conveyed its concerns as to the intentions of Greece to participate in a multilateral conference.

Following a communication with the Greek Prime Minister and moves by the UN Special Adviser Mr. Espen Eide towards the Turkish government, the legitimate concerns of the Greek government were overcome and an initial date was defined for a multilateral conference.

The above were raised on the condition that the ongoing negotiations would result in the finalization of what had been agreed and the submission of maps that would reflect the said criteria.

In the negotiations that followed and adopting the United Nations estimate, I stated that I would be prepared to accept the number of refugees that would be returning to range between 78 thousand as a minimum and 92 thousand as a maximum.

The Turkish Cypriot leader, the Turkish Cypriot side, contrary to what was agreed on the extent of the territory of the Turkish Cypriot state, proposed initially that the number of Greek Cypriots that would be returning should not exceed 55 thousand and later during the last stage of the negotiation they proposed 65 thousand as an ultimate concession.

The Turkish Cypriot side’s intention to interconnect the territorial chapter with the chapter of Security and Guarantees was evident. And this, again contrary to the Agreement that in Mont Pelerin the territory issue would be essentially discussed and not the issue of Security and Guarantees that concerns the international aspect of the Cyprus problem.

As expected, I rejected the proposal as unacceptable and insisted that what would allow me to assume that we are in range of an agreement were the numbers based also on the United Nations estimates.

However, the non-constructive positions of the Turkish Cypriot side did not prevent me from making intensive efforts and submitting compromise proposals even until the end for achieving convergence, always, of course, taking into account that the numbers I was pursuing would not exclude areas that were of particular importance for the Greek Cypriot side.

Despite my efforts, this has not been possible to lead to further progress due to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side did not show the necessary flexibility and as a result we were led to the interruption of the dialogue.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Despite the disappointment that is normal to have been caused by the result in Mont Pelerin, I would like to offer assurances that I am determined and ready, while always respecting the reasonable concerns of the Greek Cypriots – and I underline this – without overlooking those of the Turkish Cypriots, to take all the necessary actions so that the dialogue can restart.

I would like to make it clear that in order to achieve a solution that will be acceptable by both communities, what was agreed must be observed and also the solution must correspond primarily to the principles and the values of international and European law and allow the establishment of a viable, functional and modern European state.

I am and will remain ready to resume the dialogue from the point it was left off in Mont Pelerin, with a simultaneous intensification of the deliberations for the achievement of convergences on the pending differences on the entirety of the Chapters, so that with tenable expectations we can be led to the final phase of the dialogue.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As you have realized, I avoided engaging in a blame game. I have simply stated the true facts and have done so while always feeling the weight of my responsibility towards the Cypriot people.

At the same time, I have outlined the procedure and the principles that must rule the pursued solution, fully respecting the concerns of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots alike. Besides, it is the people that will decide the fate of any solution plan through referenda.

Before I conclude, allow me to express my warmest thanks to the Prime Minister of Greece for the undivided support he provided me during the entire process, not only during our presence in Mont Pelerin, but also before. At the same time I would like to thank all the members of the negotiating team who accompanied me to Switzerland and whose help has been invaluable.

Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you.

Source: Press and Information Office.