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ANSWERS BY PRESIDENT OF CYPRUS TO KIBRIS NEWSPAPER

Occasional Cypriot News Contributions Directory

From: Panayiotis Zaphiris <pzaphiri@Glue.umd.edu>

Thursday 1/2/1996

ANSWERS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC
MR GLAFCOS CLERIDES,
TO QUESTIONS PUT TO HIM
BY MR SULEYMAN ERGUCLU OF KIBRIS NEWSPAPER


QUESTION 1: Mr Clerides, the recent developments led us to believe that progress may be achieved on the Cyprus problem in the near future. Do you share this belief and if so what are the specific developments that led you to this belief ?

ANSWER 1: I have always believed that progress may be achieved in the Cyprus problem and a settlement reached very rapidly, provided that there is political will to solve the problem from both sides. May I remind you that the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr Ghali, in his report to the Security Council of May 30 1994 attributed the failure to make progress towards a solution to the lack of political will of the Turkish Cypriot leadership and the failure of his good offices mission to produce results to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot side flouts international opinion as expressed in Security Council resolutions. If this time, when renewed efforts are going to be made for negotiations, this lack of political will is not manifested, then, I am sure, that the road to the solution will be wide open.

QUESTION 2: On Cyprus - EU relationship, Turkish Cypriots have worries. These worries are mainly based on the understanding that if the EU accepts Cyprus, as it is now, the Turkish Cypriots will be left without a political status and thus, face many problems. How do you intend to overcome this problem and satisfy the worriers of the Turkish Cypriot people ?

ANSWER 2: I must say that I understand how the Turkish Cypriots feel as regards the European Union membership of Cyprus. That is why I urge the Turkish Cypriot leadership and all our fellow Turkish Cypriot citizens to hurry up so that a solution is concluded before negotiations begin six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference. We will then be able to negotiate together our accession to the European Union. The prospect of joining the EU offers a great opportunity to all the people of Cyprus and it is an opportunity that both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should not miss.

QUESTION 3: As you know, in any settlement, security is one of the most important issues for both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. Do you have any proposal that may be acceptable by both sides to settle this problem ?

ANSWER 3: As you quite rightly say, security is one of the most important issues for both Turkish and Greek Cypriots. I understand that if we continue with the existing Treaty of Guarantees, with Turkey having the right to unilateral intervention, and in addition if the future solution allows Turkish troops to be stationed in Cyprus, this will most certainly allay the fears and anxieties and address the security concerns of the Turkish Cypriots.

However, I want you to understand that this kind of arrangement will create exactly the opposite feelings among the Greek Cypriots. Therefore, what is needed is a security arrangement that addresses the concerns of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots and which makes both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots feel secure. The only possible solution to this problem is the following approach: The old guarantors will remain and new guarantors will be added. Thus the independence, territorial integrity and constitutional order of the Republic will be guaranteed by a greater number of guarantors. Secondly, an international force, made up from contingents of the guarantors, will be stationed in a demilitarized Cyprus.

This force will have the following rights:

(a) To ensure that no para-military organizations are created and no arms are imported other than those agreed which will be needed for the police forces.

(b) To intervene after a decision of the guarantors taken by majority if the independence and the territorial integrity of Cyprus are imperilled by either of the two communities or if constitutional order is violated.

This solution will have the following advantages:
  • Should any tension arise it will not be exported to Greece and Turkey which as a rule take the side of their respective related communities. It will be localized and solved in the wider circle of guarantors.
  • The British guarantor will no longer be in the unenviable position of finding itself in the middle and accused by both sides of not living up to its obligations under the Treaty of Guarantees.
  • Intervention will be made by the international force stationed in Cyprus and, therefore, questions of invasion, occupation, withdrawal of forces etc, which complicate the issue, will not arise.
  • Greek and Turkish military contingents will continue to be stationed in Cyprus. They will be part of an international force and, therefore, any engagement or suspicion or allegation of engagement in chauvinistic nationalism in their related communities would be checked or answered convincingly.
Since we wish to join the European Union the guarantors should be from the European Union and other countries.

QUESTION 4: Bizonality seems to be one of the principles accepted by both sides. What do you understand from bizonality ?

ANSWER 4: May I remind you that bizonality has been agreed during the high-level agreements and it was a concession made by the Greek Cypriot community provided that the Turkish Cypriot community would accept that basic human rights will be respected in the future Federal Republic of Cyprus. We stand by these high-level agreements. What we consider as a bizonal federation is that Cyprus will be composed of two federated cantons or areas, the one to be under Greek Cypriot administration and the other to be under Turkish Cypriot administration.

For this arrangement to be effective everything will depend on how the territorial issue is settled. If the question of territory is solved in such a way that it would allow at least two thirds of the refugees to go back to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration, the remaining refugees who may decide to go back under the Turkish Cypriot administration will not affect the substantial Turkish Cypriot majority in the area under Turkish Cypriot administration. Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who will choose not to return will have the option to sell, exchange or retain their properties.

QUESTION 5: Territorial adjustments are another major topic of discussion on the Cyprus problem. If an agreement is to be reached, what are your specific territorial expectations ?

ANSWER 5: I think in my reply given to question 4 I cover also the territorial issue.

QUESTION 6: On the issue of sovereignty, the Turkish Cypriot side seems to be insisting on separate sovereignty for the two communities, and the Greek Cypriot side seems to be insisting on single and unified sovereignty. How do you plan to solve this problem to the satisfaction of both sides ?

ANSWER 6: There is no county in the world, no state in the world which hasn't but one and indivisible sovereignty. This is our position: The Federal Republic of Cyprus will have a single, indivisible, international, legal, personality and sovereignty. However, all powers and functions of the federal state and of the two federated cantons will be derived and will flow from the Constitution of the Federal Republic. The powers for the federated cantons, which will have a maximum degree of autonomy in internal administration, will be agreed upon.

QUESTION 7: The freedom of movement and settlement is another important topic of disagreement between the two sides. Lately, the Greek Cypriot side gave certain hints that it is ready to discuss certain limitations on the subject, for a certain period of time. What exactly do you have in mind and how do you envisage the functioning of this system ?

ANSWER 7: Our side remains committed to the necessity that any future Federal Republic of Cyprus should respect human rights and its Constitution should be compatible with all European human rights conventions. In replying the previous question, I have already mentioned our position as regards the question of settlement and property.

QUESTION 8: On the question of political equality, do you feel the Greek Cypriot side is ready to accord equal political status to the Turkish Cypriot side ? If yes, how will this work in practice ?

ANSWER 8: In every federal structure, the same powers and functions allocated to one of the cantons or components are given to the other canton as well. The equal political status of both communities has been defined by the UN Secretary-General, Mr Boutros-Ghali, in his report of 30 April 1992, para. 11, i.e. not equal numerical participation but effective participation of both communities in the federal government. This definition is acceptable to our side. However, effective participation should not be such as to create prolonged deadlocks in the decision-making of the federal government. Deadlock-resolving mechanisms should be provided to avoid prolonged tensions and counteract ineffectiveness.

QUESTION 9: The incidents between 1963 and 1974 have created a big gap between the two communities. The Turkish Cypriots carry memories of massacres and attacks. If the cooperation of the two communities is to be achieved, these feelings must be left behind. Do you think that recognition of the mistakes made during the 1963-1974 period could satisfy the Turkish Cypriots and thus contribute to the future cooperation of the two communities ?

ANSWER 9: Bad experiences and bitter memories of the past have been felt by both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. It is time to start looking ahead of us, ahead into the future, which is common for both of us, instead of looking backwards recriminating against one another. Nonetheless, and in order not to avoid your question, may I remind you that in my book "My Deposition" I specifically admit the responsibilities of the Greek Cypriot side for unfortunate mistakes of the past and I give an account both of the mistakes of the Greek Cypriot side and of the Turkish Cypriot side. With regard to tragic events, losses and sufferings I expressed regret and sympathy for the losses suffered by the Turkish Cypriot community on the following occasions: During the London Conference in 1963 I opened my address as follows:

"It is a matter of great regret to us that discussions of problems of Cyprus which culminated in the present situation takes place after the recent tragic events which caused pain and suffering to the people of Cyprus. It would have been better if reason had prevailed at an earlier stage and we had a conference before the events which have preceded it. I fully sympathize with the feelings expressed by Mr Denktash about the loss of life and sufferings of the Turkish Cypriot community but I would have liked him with all sincerity to have expressed also sympathy for the many deaths and sufferings which the Greek Cypriots have suffered".

I made also a similar statement before the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, as President of the Republic of Cyprus. I am ready to make now a public statement expressing regret for the pain and suffering caused to the Turkish Cypriot community if Mr Denktash is ready to make also a similar statement about the pain and suffering caused to the Greek Cypriot community.

I am even willing to go a step further. Both Mr Denktahs and I as leaders of our respective communities together will all Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot political leaders should make a joint declaration that never again our communities shall raise arms against each other, counter or tolerate paramilitary organizations or illegal arms and express our willingness to accept international inspection to this effect.

QUESTION 10: If an agreement were to be reached tomorrow, could you please describe the "Cyprus" we would be faced with just after the agreement and in 20 years time ?

ANSWER 10: I can foresee a united, bizonal, bicommunal federal Cyprus, where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots live peacefully together, working towards economic parity for both communities and towards prosperity and technological progress. Cyprus, if united, can become a regional trade, tourism and educational center. All the above can be achieved well before the 20-year time limit.

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