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The July heat starts early in Cyprus.
For Espen Barth Eide, 24th of July was a particularly hot day as his meeting with Greek Cypriot President, Nicos Anastasiades started early in the day.
As the United Nations Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Mr Eide has been making efforts to bring the two sides together in agreement on two particular principles in order to end the 43 year dispute. One being the Turkish military presence on the island and the other, more critical for the Turkish side, Treaty of Guarantees and the right for intervention.
In a respectful manner and an effort not to upset President Anastasiades, to begin with Mr Eide goes on to “be as precise as they can” on the two issues. The concern of the Turkish side being what if the Turkish troops are withdrawn and security concerns of the Turkish Cypriots are not met? Furthermore, with recent developments in the Middle East, as for the British military bases, Cyprus poses a great geopolitical value for Turkey, “as part of a defence arrangement”.
President Anastasiades repeatedly asks Mr Eide for the Turkish position in respect of the withdrawal of the troops to which Mr Eide points out on many occasions in their discussion that the Turkish side will be flexible for a withdrawal, providing assurances are given and security concerns are met formally.
The whole discussion goes back and forth between the Cypriot President having said during the talks in Switzerland “if troops are going to stay, we need a sunset clause” and Mr Eiden insisting that “we never managed to settle that issue. So we did not agree on the end date or the end the end process for the troops. We did what was in our hands for the significant reduction into the numbers and the logic of alliance” he keeps on insisting “is actually more important than the numbers. Because it means what they are there to do in some kind of defence arrangement.”
Stating that President Anastasiades Greek “submitted a comprehensive proposal on implementation and monitoring mechanism and addressing the future security architecture of United Cyprus” Cypriot Negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, who is present in these discussions, confirms the Turkish side’s security concerns by saying “conditioning the end of The Treaty of Guarantee and the right of intervention to the existence of (a) solid and robust mechanism.”
Greek Cypriot government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides asks Mr Eide straight three questions, again on the withdrawal of the Turkish troops.
Why the Greek Cypriot side insists on the withdrawal of the troops and not “tolerate” their presence in any “defence arrangement” is of course one of the reasons of gridlock which again lead to the failure of negotiations.
The Cyprus problem is called not “Diplomats Graveyard” for no reason.
The Greek side insists on the forfeiting of the Turkish side of the Treaty of Guarantees, right of intervention and withdrawal of troops all together while Turkey verbally confirms flexibility and formally willingness to negotiate providing security concerns are met.
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