Wednesday

23rd May 2018

Cyprus leaders fail to agree territory deal

  • Limassol harbour. Greek and Turksih Cypriot leaders failed to agree on how much territory each community will administrate. (Photo: Martin Wippel)

Talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders ended without an agreement on Monday evening (21 November), casting doubt over the island's reunification process.

Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades and the leader of the Turkish occupied part of the island Mustafa Akinci were trying to agree on the map of a future federal Cyprus.

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.



But after a two-day meeting in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland, backed by UN Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide, the two leaders failed to agree on criteria to draw the map.

“Despite their best efforts, they have not been able to achieve the necessary further convergences on criteria for territorial adjustment that would have paved the way for the last phase of the talks,” the UN said in a statement.

“The two sides have decided to return to Cyprus and reflect on the way forward,” it added, suggesting that the peace process may have reached a dead end.

Anastasiades and Akinci started talks earlier this year with the aim of reaching a settlement before the end of the year.

They have met several times a month since the end of summer, including during a five-day session in early November, to escape the local pressure, and have so far managed to keep a momentum despite difficulties.

But talks have now reached crucial issues like how much territory will be under the authority of the Creek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, how many Greeks will be allowed to go back to the Turkish part, and how much coastline each entity will have.

The Turkish Cypriot side has proposed to keep 29.2 percent of the island's territory, while the Greek Cypriots have proposed 28 percent, with discussions blocking over some towns and villages along the future limit.

The northern part of the island, occupied by Turkey since 1974, currently represents some 36 percent of the territory.

In a Turkish-language tweet reported by Cypriot media, Akinci’s office accused the Greek Cypriot side of "maximalist" positions.

An agreement on the map of the future federal Cyprus would have paved the way for an international conference to close a settlement deal with Cyprus's guarantors - the UK, Greece and Turkey.

The three countries are the guarantors of the island's sovereignty since it became independent in 1960.

Cyprus, supported by Greece, wants to scrap that status while the Turkish Cypriot side insists to keep Turkey as a protecting power. Turkey used its guarantor status to invade the island and keep 40,000 troops in the northern part.


Turkey's position towards the peace process has so far been a big unknown, especially since last July's failed coup has hardened president Erdogan's power and led to a massive purge in the Turkish army.

Cypriot media also reported that Greek, Turkish and Cypriot authorities had many phone calls during the talks in Switzerland. And on Monday, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras proposed to meet Recep Tayyip Erdogan to talk about the guarantee system and unblock the blocking points in the negotiations.

No new meeting is set at the moment. UN envoy Eide said he would “bring these developments to the attention" of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.

Interview

Cyprus seeks EU support on reunification

EU states should be "more vocal" with Turkey and play a more political role on reunification, Cyprus' EU ambassador told EUobserver.

'Crucial day' for Cyprus peace talks

Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders end five-days of negotiations in Switzerland that could pave the way for a reunification settlement later this year.

Analysis

Turkey holds key at last-ditch Cyprus talks

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders meet from Monday to Wednesday, before an multilateral conference on Thursday that could endorse a reunification settlement. Talks could still fail on Turkey's role.

Opinion

Linking EU funds to 'rule of law' is innovative - but vague

Defining what constitutes 'rule of law' violations may be more difficult than the EU Commission proposes, as it tries to link cohesion funds in east Europe to judicial independence. A key question will be who is to 'judge' those judges?

Opinion

Europe's budget stasis

The EU's budgetary muddling through might not be enough when the next crisis hits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  2. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  3. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  4. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  5. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  6. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  7. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  8. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK