Leaders agree 100% on EU character of a federal Cyprus, says Eide

Leaders agree 100% on EU character of a federal Cyprus, says Eide

UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has said Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci are in 100% agreement about the European Union character of a federal Cyprus after a solution.

Eide, who was speaking on Thursday evening at an event in the Centre of Visual Arts & Research (CVAR) in the old town of Nicosia, said that he hopes that very soon an EU special representative will be named, who with a small team will help the process on the application of the acquis communautaire in the entire island.

He also spoke of the federal structure of the state that would evolve out of an eventual agreement, noting that what is sought in the negotiating process is that “we end up with a genuine federal structure, in which there are two constituent states, with clear powers, with clear competences, clearly defined but in something which is a federal structure, not a confederal structure”.

“We are working exactly in that direction because that is the direction the leaders want to go with”, he pointed out.

He highlighted the fact that “there is a full 100% agreement about the European Union character of that state”. “Not 50%, not 90%, not 95% but 100%,”, he noted, adding that this “means that European principles will apply throughout which means that european acquis is essential not only in theory but in practice”. The full state must be able to work as a well functioning European Union member with all that this implies, he said.

One of the reasons, he pointed out, is that the two leaders are genuine Europeans, not because they have to but because they want to.

Replying to a question over Turkey`s position he said that he strongly feels that Turkey wants a solution and that it supports the process. He recognised however that there are some issues “of an international nature” to do with Cyprus which are yet to be tackled.

The UN Envoy assured of the two leaders` determination as regards the Confidence Building Measures which have been announced and said there are complex issues or even technical which need to be resolved.

Replying specifically to a question on the fenced – off city of Varoshia, which has remained uninhabited since the Turkish invasion of 1974, he noted that it is an issue that “we are perfectly aware of”. Please remember, he added, “our main focus is to solve the Cyprus problem.” Once that is resolved then everything else will follow.

Replying to a question as to which federal country`s constitution the new Cypriot constitution should be like he said that “I simply do not think we should go out and copy another country.” According to Eide Cyprus` constitution should deal with its own characteristics, the fact for example that there are two communities, the matter of political equality but that it should also respect the numerical difference between them.

He also said that he believes the constitution should be a 21st century, modern constitution and spoke of the need to have strong, solid institutions, which will be able to deliver decisions.

Referring to his optimism he said he feels that every day differences are reduced. According to Eide, it is the first time when there are present three ingredients in the Cyprus talks, genuine trust, genuine will and leadership. The two sides, he noted, have changed their attitude from defending their positions to an attitude of solving problems together.

At the same time he urged Cypriots to support, engage, express their opinion, even to criticise all the aspects to do with the solution of the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks have resumed since May, between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.