by Kyriacos Jacovides*
The Cyprus Problem is primarily a problem of invasion and occupation. The current situation is inconceivable to be the solution to the problem. Independent Presidential hopeful, Nikos Christodoulides, strongly believes that the continuation of the unacceptable status quo, because of the Turkish invasion, continued occupation, and violation of the human rights of all Cypriots exacerbates the fait accompli, and creates new ones, making it even more difficult to resolve the Cyprus Problem. Despite this Turkish intransigence, he remains unwaveringly committed and determined to reach a solution, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions, the acquis communautaire, the International Law, and the 1977 and 1979 High-Level Agreements. Mr. Christodoulides also firmly believes that the sovereign equality of two entities, a two-state solution, confederation, or any other dichotomous invention are rejected out of hand and are options, neither for negotiation nor as a solution to the Cyprus Problem.
The solution must restore the unity of our homeland, its territory, its people, and its institutions, in a bizonal, bicommunal, federal state, a normal democratic state, within the EU
Unfortunately, Turkish maximalism and intransigence are what have been preventing the solution to the Cyprus Problem over the years. The culmination of the failed efforts for a solution took place during the last phase of the negotiations in Crans Montana, due to the Turkish attitude and intransigence. The talks led to failure precisely because of the Turkish stance towards the Guterres Framework. Among other things, Turkish Foreign Minister, Cavusoglu, insisted on maintaining the anachronistic system of guarantees, and the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus, making the positive outcome impossible.
Despite the negative experience of the past, Nikos Christodoulides’ primary objective and highest priority are the resumptions of substantive negotiations aimed at the solution of the Cyprus Problem. The UN resolutions, the High-Level Agreements, and the European acquis constitute the framework for negotiations when the talks resume. Understanding that, what has been put on the table by the UN Secretary-General remains, the Guterres framework, with its positive and negative points, will, therefore, be part of the negotiating framework as well. The objective is a solution without occupation troops, foreign guarantees, and invasive rights. The solution must restore the unity of our homeland, its territory, its people, and its institutions, in a bizonal, bicommunal, federal state, a normal democratic state, within the EU, where human rights and the security of its citizens, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians and Latins, will be guaranteed and fully respected.
At the same time, the solution should ensure the four basic EU freedoms for all the Cypriot people in a united state, functional in its institutions, and viable politically, economically, socially, and demographically. The central government of a united Cyprus must ensure a strong presence of Cyprus in Europe and in the world, with a single international personality, a single sovereignty, and a single citizenship, which will be responsible for and effectively provide for the security and protection of the borders of the federal state.
The relevant UN resolutions and EU decisions are crucial in the effort to resolve the Cyprus Problem. UN Security Council resolutions 550 and 789 are of particular importance in relation to the illegal Turkish actions in Famagusta. In this context, we will intensify our efforts at the international level to deter the Turkish plans.
Within the international context where we are called upon to operate now, which is largely shaped by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our efforts must be focused on a strengthened and prominent role for the EU, of which the Republic of Cyprus is a member state, and which will continue to be so after a possible solution to the Cyprus Problem. Undoubtedly, the accession of the Republic of Cyprus to the EU in 2004, as it is clearly evident from the last negotiation process, has a decisive influence on both the framework and the content of a possible solution, while, at the same time, making the EU one of the leading actors of any process. In this context, the EU can play a decisive and leading role in the relaunch and substantial assistance to the negotiations. It has all the tools that can lead to a mutually beneficial state of affairs, as a result of a settlement of the Cyprus Problem, under the auspices of the United Nations, and the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus into a federal, functional state with a European identity, without occupying troops and anachronistic guarantee systems and obsolete external dependencies.
The EU’s leading role can be a catalyst in the resolution of the Cyprus Problem, considering the context of Euro-Turkish relations and Turkish demands, such as the upgrading of the customs union, visa liberalization, the aviation agreement and the chapters of its accession process that have been frozen. The clear linkage of Ankara’s aspirations with the de-escalation of the Turkish aggressive stance and the resumption of substantive negotiations towards a settlement of the Cyprus problem based on the agreed framework can create the conditions that will lead to a mutually beneficial state of affairs.
In this context and for the practical implementation of the link between Euro-Turkish relations and Turkish aggression, and in particular the solution to the Cyprus Problem, Nikos Christodoulides plans to immediately launch a major diplomatic effort for the European Council to take a political decision on the appointment of a strong political personality with specific terms of reference. These terms of reference should provide for the pursuit of a solution to the Cyprus Problem, based on the principles and values of the EU and the European acquis, as well as the fundamental principles for a solution to the Cyprus Problem, as set out in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions on Cyprus. This effort will also aim at the emergence and effective promotion of a mutually beneficial state of affairs, which will be beneficial for the security of Europe, will create rational incentives for Turkey on issues of importance to Turkey, and can only be achieved through the resolution of the Cyprus problem.
Nikos Christodoulides plans to set up a Cyprus Expert Team in the Presidency, which will also support the Greek Cypriot Negotiator. The Team will consist of experienced personnel in peace negotiations, diplomacy, and constitutional and EU law, with the potential of securing expertise and technical support from the EU and EU Member States, or other States with federal systems. The Team will also study existing governance systems and constitutions in relation to previous draft solutions with a view to generating ideas and alternative proposals for bridging positions on solution provisions that should be consistent with the European acquis, which will essentially cover internal governance issues and should guarantee the functionality of the state.
In conclusion, it can be clearly stated that Nikos Christodoulides has the determination and will to work hard for a viable solution to the Cyprus Problem. He has the political will to do it.
* Kyriacos Jacovides is a member of the Press and Communication team of Presidential candidate, Nikos Christodoulides