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28 January, 2022
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Manoeuvres to avoid deadlock and to enable Turkey flexibility

Nicosia's negotiating boundaries and Cavusoglu's message on security and guarantees

Michalis Tsikalas

Michalis Tsikalas

The emergence of the issue of devolved federation, an admittedly vague term, emerged according to Kathimerini sources during recent meetings in New York as a result of the expressed intentions of Turkey on the security and guarantees chapter.

These views were communicated during the days of the UN General Assembly in New York and "revealed" in the diplomatic backstage that Turkey was not going to retract its familiar views with regards to security and guarantees, which would lead the Secretary General to declare the current state of affairs in Cyprus as a dead end. In fact this was the assessment made by diplomatic sources.

The political manoeuvre that the President is undertaking to devolve powers away from the central government of the proposed federation which would strengthen the constituent states is seen as a move capable of restarting the negotiation process and to avoid a deadlock. Kathimerini learned that primarily the aim is to avoid such an impasse. This move has already achieved results, although it is on the edge of what Nicosia is willing to concede. Akinci has said that he is willing to discuss with President Anastasiades, while at the same time the message to the UN Secretary-General is that the two sides seem to be able to talk to each other.

The ball now is on Turkey’s court sources say.

Answering to a question whether UN envoy Jane Holl Lute was aware of the President’s move sources said that she was not fully informed although the UN envoy was anticipating such a move given the circumstances. It should be noted that it is not known what was said between Lute and Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu but it does not seem to be far from what Cavusoglu told Anastasiades.

However even before Anastasiades departed for New York, there was a proposal ready on the part of the Greek Cypriot side, with a content that the other side could not refuse. It is not confirmed that the proposal in question was about a "loose" federation, but it seems so because sources ruled out other confidence building measures or issues relating to natural gas.

The message, that it is difficult for Turkey to make concessions on the issue of security and guarantees, was clearly communicated by Cavusoglu to President Anastasiades. "If there are no steps that can satisfy the Turkish Cypriots on internal matters, we cannot move forward" it was said.

 An impending declaration of an impasse by Guterres had the Greek Cypriot side remained unwilling to negotiate would, according to diplomatic sources, put the latter at a disadvantage, while the Turkish Cypriot leadership and Turkey would ask for a two state solution and recognition of the "TRNC".

The benefit now is that there is common ground. The Turkish side reportedly expressed willingness to show flexibility without any further details known and the Greek Cypriot side expects to see progress with regards to the debate on security and guarantees.

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