Following a public spat between the two Cypriot leaders on the elusive ‘Guterres framework’, both sides on the divided island are trying to pin down the exact UN guidelines for resuming and potentially resolving the Cyprus problem.
The Greek Cypriot leader, President Nicos Anastasiades, responded this week to a call by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who called for the resumption of talks based on a set of guidelines put together last year by United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
Cyprus government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Friday that Anastasiades’ response was crystal clear.
“There is a very clear written statement by the President regarding the issues raised by Mr. Akinci. Our position at this moment is that whatever we had to say we said it, and whatever we had to do as relates to the United Nations, we did it,” Prodromou said.
Unfortunately, this stance shows that they will continue to divert and distort the Guterres Framework and unfortunately this is not an approach that would aid resolution"
Akinci had issued his own response Thursday, telling Ankara Anatolia news agency that Greek Cypriots had not responded positively.
"Rather than giving a positive response to my genuine call on the matter, the Greek Cypriot side has chosen to speak of a non-existent document dated July 4 for the past two days.
Unfortunately, this stance shows that they will continue to divert and distort the Guterres Framework and unfortunately this is not an approach that would aid resolution," Akinci said.
Akinci on Monday asked Anastasiades to state publicly whether he would accept the UN framework as a basis to resume talks, hinting he was referring to the non-paper dated June 30, days before hopes fo a breakthrough were dashed in Switzerland’s Crans Montana in early July.
Anastasiades called the bluff by saying the development was positive, as long as Akinci had in mind the parameters as defined during a meeting at Crans Montana on July 4.
“If Mr. Akinci accepts the framework of Mr. Guterres, as it was presented to the sides on 4 July 2017, this is a positive development,” Anastasiades said Wednesday, while attaching a list of questions for clarification.
Anastasiades brought up a number of points in his response, including Security and Guarantees which is a highly contested issue.
Greek Cypriots view guarantees as “anachronistic” and out-of-place for an EU member state, while Turkish Cypriots view it as a security apparatus that works as a “deterrent” against sparking conflict between the two sides.
The Guterres framework
The Guterres framework is not an official document but it reportedly lists a number of issues that have to be addressed by both sides in order to come close to an agreement.
But the two sides not only disagree on what exactly was meant by the UNSG, they also disagree on which version should be used, as June 30 and July 4 represented two different points of reference during last year's peace summit prior to the collapse of talks.
An attempt to reunify the island under a bicommunal, bizonal, federal system failed in a referendum in April 2004, days before the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union.
Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted in favour hoping a reunified country would be their ticket to coming out of the shadows of their breakaway regime, recognized only by Turkey. But Greek Cypriots voted against the plan, citing fears that Turkey was not to be trusted.
Cyprus has been divided by ethnic conflict for over half a century.
It was further divided in July 1974 when Turkey intervened by invading the northern third part of the island, several days following a short-lived military coup engineered by Athens.