Thursday

19th Oct 2017

Big expectations as Cyprus peace talks restart

  • Restitution of properties proved to be a sticking point in the past (Photo: michael kirian)

Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders held a symbolic meeting on Tuesday (11 February) to launch talks on creating a “united Cyprus federation.”

The event, at an abandoned airport in no man’s land, brought together Cypriot President Nikos Anastasiades and Dervis Eroglu, the head of the mostly unrecognised Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), in their informal capacities as the “leaders” of their “communities.”

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

It saw a UN official read out the text of a new framework accord.

The text says there should be “a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality” for the Greek Cypriot constituent state and the Turkish Cypriot constituent state.

It will be ruled by a “federal government” under a “federal constitution” adjudicated by a “Federal Supreme Court.”

Its people will be full citizens of the united entity, but will also hold “internal” citizenship in either of the two parts. The new Cyprus will be a legal continuation of the existing Cypriot state in terms of its UN and EU membership.

Details of the accord are to be negotiated by senior officials from Cyprus and from the TRNC with no arbitration on, for instance, maritime zone claims, by international courts.

The final deal will have to be approved by political leaders and ratified by referendums.

Both sides have been here before in the 40-year-old frozen conflict.

But the draft accord represents new concessions which have raised hopes of a breakthrough in the next few months.

In the past, Greek Cypriots had refused to treat Turkish Cypriots as an equal partner, while Turkish Cypriots had been wary of agreeing to single sovereignty and had wanted to involve outside arbitrators.

The talks also come in new economic circumstances.

Cyprus last year averted bankruptcy by seeking a €10 billion bailout from the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

It is rebounding more quickly than expected - a review mission by the lenders also on Tuesday said its GDP shrank 2 percent less than expected and it will return to growth by 2015. It added that its tourism sector is “resilient” and its banking sector is “showing signs of stabilisation.”

But reunification could see it return to prosperity more quickly, not least because it would speed up exploitation of natural gas in disputed maritime areas.

The gas issue “can certainly be helpful” in bringing the two sides together, an EU diplomat said.

Meanwhile, a Cyprus deal would have strategic consequences for the region.

It would remove a leading impediment for Turkey’s EU accession and normalise EU-Nato ties, which are bedevilled by Turkey’s veto on sharing Nato information with the EU due to Cyprus’ EU membership.

It would also open the door to exports of gas from Cyprus to the EU via Turkey, with the help of Israeli and US firms, lowering energy dependence on Russia.

For their part, the EU Council and European Commission heads welcomed Tuesday’s development.

They said the draft accord “lays a solid foundation … for a fair and viable comprehensive settlement.” The commission also pledged to send a special representative, Belgian lawyer Pieter Van Nuffel, to “contribute actively to the search for constructive solutions.”

The Cypriot negotiators are due to hold their first meeting next week.

Past talks have struggled to solve claims on properties abandoned by people who fled their homes and businesses in the 1974 war, with the draft accord saying nothing on the subject.

“The joint communique is not the final solution, but the beginning of a painstaking effort to reach the desirable aims,” Anastasiades said.

EU urges Turkey to change internet law

Turkey's crackdown on the internet raises "serious concerns" and "needs to be revised in line with European standards," the EU commission has said.

North Cyprus election renews hopes of peace deal

Independent candidate Mustafa Akinci won a surprise victory to become president of Northern Cyprus on Sunday, in a result that could prove a breakthrough for peace talks on the divided island.

News in Brief

  1. Madrid eyes early elections as solution to Catalan crisis
  2. Merkel starts coalition talks to form government by December
  3. Iceland confirms long-standing EU opposition, poll shows
  4. EU summit moved to previous building after fumes scare
  5. Catalonia will 'not back down'
  6. New toxic incident in EU building ahead of summit
  7. Murdered Malta journalist's family invited to Parliament
  8. EU food safety chief denies keeping studies 'secret'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  2. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  6. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  7. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  8. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  9. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  10. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  12. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year

Latest News

  1. EU okays Privacy Shield's first year
  2. EU seeks to decrypt messages in new anti-terror plan
  3. EU agencies defend research ahead of glyphosate vote
  4. Spain points at elections as exit to Catalan crisis
  5. How EU can ensure Daphne Caruana Galizia's legacy survives
  6. Juncker dinner to warm up relations with eastern EU
  7. Court hearing in MEPs 'private' expenses battle
  8. The unbearable lightness of leadership