Opening statement by the President of the Republic at the press conference on the outcome of the Conference on Cyprus (10/7/17)

The purpose of today’s press conference is first, to brief all the people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, with evidence and reference to real events; and second, the presentation of some thoughts that concern the future course.

As you well know, the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana was the result of the agreement that was achieved on 4 June, 2017 in New York, and which demonstrated for the first time that without the solution or the achievement of adequate progress on the Chapter on Security and Guarantees it would not be possible to expect a positive outcome from the present process.

On 28 June, at the start of the proceedings in Crans-Montana, the Under Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Jeffrey Feltman, who was chairing the Conference, indicated that the Chapter on Security and Guarantees is the most critical in finding a comprehensive solution, while he made clear that the document that was presented as common could not be regarded as such because of the disagreements that were expressed.

During the afternoon session of the Conference, the Turkish Foreign Minister presented the Turkish proposal, which consisted of the following sections:

(a) The Treaty of Guarantee will continue to be in force and would extend also to the constituent states separately,

(b) The Treaty of Alliance will continue to be in force but the Tripartite Headquarters will be abolished,

(c) The Turkish troops will be reduced significantly with the beginning of the implementation of the solution and subsequently they will be reduced to a corresponding number with the Greek troops, until they reach the agreed number,

(d) The implementation of the solution will be monitored by a committee which will comprise one representative from Turkey, one from Britain and one from Greece, a Greek Cypriot and a Turkish Cypriot from the federal government, one representative from each constituent state, and one representative from the United Nations Organization who will be presiding, with an explicit reference to the exclusion of participation by the European Union.

As it was expected, both I and the Foreign Minister of Greece rejected the Turkish proposal.

Worth mentioning is the position taken by the First Vice President of the European Commission, Mr Frans Timmermans, who noted that the European Union has a lot to contribute to and a role to play in the sector of Security in a member state of the European Union.

Then the Under Secretary General of the United Nations Organization, insisting on the view that the issue of Security and Guarantees is of the highest importance for the further course of the negotiations, invited the parties to take a position on three basic questions:

(a) Which fundamental change or which system of security would replace the Treaty of Guarantees and the system of guarantees?

(b) How the concerns of the two communities on the issue of Security are addressed?

(c) How are the implementation and monitoring of the solution safeguarded?

On the next day, I explained extensively and with specific arguments the comprehensive and well-documented relevant proposal that I submitted in September 2016, which covers and responds fully and in a documented way, to all the questions that the UN Under-Secretary-General submitted.

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side limited themselves to repeating the Turkish positions that I have mentioned before, with persistence by the Turkish Cypriot side for maintaining the bonds they keep with Turkey.

On the part of the European Union, Mr Timmermans, responding to the questions of the UN Under Secretary General, referred to specific clauses of the treaties of the European Union which provide the possibility of addressing the feeling of insecurity of the two communities, both on issues of domestic as well as on issues of foreign security.

On 30 June, during the first presence and participation of the UN Secretary General in the Conference on Cyprus, and following consultations with all the parties involved, he set the parameters within which, always according to the results of his recommendations, the negotiations should move, in order to achieve progress and/or convergences on the following 6 thematic units.

I make reference word for word:

(a) Security and Guarantees: We must recognize that what we need is a new security regime, and not the continuation of the old. I think that the termination of the unilateral rights of intervention and the termination of the Treaty of Guarantee is needed.

The present situation will be replaced with a stable security system where all of Cyprus and all the people of Cyprus, from both communities, will feel safe through strong implementation and monitoring mechanisms of the solution, which will include an international dimension (UN / multilateral � international framework / friendly countries). Today’s guarantor powers are not themselves in a position to implement and to monitor the implementation of the solution.

(b) Foreign Troops:

There must be drastic reduction of the troops from the first day of implementation of the solution and subsequently the number of the forces to be reduced to the 1960 levels, while, at the same time, to agree on the timetable of withdrawal and the monitoring mechanisms.

With regard to the clause for the expiration of the stay of the troops as opposed to the clause for review, this must be discussed in the presence of the Prime Ministers of the three guarantor powers.

(g) Issue of Territory:

The territorial readjustments must correspond to the concerns that were expressed by the Greek Cypriot side.

(d) Property Issue:

There are two principles that must be taken into consideration: (a) For areas that are subject to territorial readjustments where priority must be given to the displaced owners, but not in an absolute proportion and (b) The remaining regime that must be constructed in a way that priority will be given to the users, but not in an absolute proportion. Specific elements must be developed further.

(e) Effective Participation:

This subject must be discussed further with regard to the issue of the positive vote (when and under what conditions, in what bodies and which will be the relevant deadlock breaking mechanisms), whereas other pending issues that concern the power sharing must also be discussed, including also the demand by the Turkish Cypriot side for rotating presidency.

(f) Treatment of Turkish citizens:

With regard to the permanent residence of Turks there must be a quota that will be equitable in relation to the Greek citizens who will acquire permanent residence, except for the regime that relates to students, tourists and seasonal workers.

Further discussion is required with regard to what is considered as equitable for the implementation of permanent residence.

As a result of the refusal of the Turkish side to negotiate within the limits of the parameters that the UN Secretary General set, but also in view of the seeming impasse, I took the initiative and on 5 July, under specific conditions and presuppositions, I submitted proposals that addressed the concerns of the Turkish Cypriots, without ignoring the sensitivities of the Greek Cypriot side.

I want to stress that through our written proposals, it was very clearly stressed that none of the proposals would come into force if the unilateral right of intervention and the guarantees were not terminated; if there was no withdrawal of the occupation forces with a specific timetable; and if the just demands of the Greek Cypriot side on the territorial readjustments were not satisfied.

These proposals received positive consideration from the participants except, of course, from Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

On 6 July, in the presence of the UN Secretary General, I explained extensively our documented proposals, especially on the issues concerning the abolition of the intervention rights and Turkish guarantees and their replacement with a new system of security architecture, which would allow the complete withdrawal of the occupation troops within a specific timetable, safeguarding, at the same time, the concerns of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots.

At the same time, we proposed a credible monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the solution.

In the consultations of the Secretary General with the parties that followed, the Turkish side let it be understood that it would show flexibility within the limits of the parameters that he set with regard to the intervention rights but also the abolition of the guarantees.

In the long consultation that followed in the course of the dinner, and contrary to the impressions that the Turkish side left to the Secretary General, Mr Cavusoglu stubbornly refused to reveal the Turkish positions, declaring that they were known to the Secretary General.

At the same time, he was demanding the prior satisfaction of the Turkish Cypriot positions that deal with the internal dimension of the Cyprus problem, with special emphasis on the need to satisfy Turkey on the issue of equal treatment of Greek and Turkish citizens, and also the need for the solution to become primary law of the European Union.

In view of the seeming deadlock, the Secretary General took the initiative to propose a short communique that would register generally acceptable positions on the Chapter on Security and Guarantees, and also on some other Chapters where it was thought possible for a convergence of views to be achieved.

To my repeated questions and also those of the Greek Foreign Minister if the provisions for the termination of the right of intervention and the Treaty of Guarantee would be in force from the first day of the implementation of the solution, Mr Cavusoglu, avoiding any evasions, revealed that the position of Turkey remained unchanged.

That is to say: The system of security and guarantees, and also the right of intervention, must be maintained with a review clause in fifteen years’ time, whereas on the issue of the troops the absolute position of Turkey was that whatever number is agreed upon will remain permanently in Cyprus.

The Secretary General, in order to avoid aggravation of a further crisis, assumed the burden of responsibility stating that, in view of the developments, it seems that on the issue of the termination of the Treaty of Guarantees and the right of intervention, all his suggestions throughout the entire duration of the consultations were based on a false understanding that he had formulated during his talks with the Turkish Foreign Minister.

I would like to note that on the issue of the internal aspects, besides the other disagreements, the position of the Turkish Cypriot side on the territorial readjustments was limited to the return of part of Morphou.

I would not want to expand by referring to the series of events, since through your questions I will be given the opportunity to present further details and information.

What I would like to make clear to those who maliciously transmit messages that supposedly the Greek Cypriot side is responsible for the unfortunate outcome, but more particularly to Turkey, is that the Greek side is ready to negotiate a solution within the parameters that the Secretary General set if:

First: The Treaties of Guarantees and Alliance, including the right of intervention, are terminated from the first day of the implementation of the solution.

Second: An effective mechanism for the implementation and monitoring of the materialization of the solution is found, on the basis of the comprehensive proposal that we have submitted.

Third: A timetable for the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces is agreed on the basis of the proposal that we have submitted.

I want to repeat that our aim and purpose, through the proposals we have submitted, is the establishment of a truly independent and sovereign state, free of any third country dependencies.

A modern state, fully harmonized with the European acquis that will offer the prospect of peaceful coexistence and prospect for the future for all its citizens without exception.

The Government is undertaking, in the coming days, a campaign to inform leaders of foreign countries, the Members of the Security Council, the European Council, through personal letters by me, but also through the mobilization of all the diplomatic missions.

At the same time, in consultation with the National Council and also in cooperation with the Greek Government, we will draw the future course.

Before I conclude, I would like to express my warmest thanks to the Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister and his colleagues, for their excellent cooperation and their absolute support during the course of the consultations in Crans-Montana.

Second, to the members of the National Council who responsibly, even with different views, they supported the efforts we made.

I want to express special thanks to the Interlocutor, the negotiating team and the technocrats who helped me significantly in the formulation of the proposals or in addressing the demands projected either on the part of Turkey or the part of the Turkish Cypriot side.

Source: Press and Information Office