According to the Turkish road map, the procedures in the Cyprus issue seem to be moving. Although within the next 24 hours it is expected that the time and place of the informal five-party meeting will be clarified, it seems that the informal preparatory conference for Cyprus will take place after the European Council.
According to our information, regarding the procedures of the informal 5 + 1 meeting, everything remains fluid with the parties awaiting relevant information from Jane Hall Luth, who has taken on the role of coordinator for the convening of the five-party meeting. The factors that seem to be influencing the impossibility of holding the five-party summit in early March, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations himself stated, are:
Firstly, the difficulties that arise in relation to the trip to the United States as the restrictive measures imposed by the US government are such that it will be very difficult for all the delegations that will come to such a meeting. This is forcing the United Nations to look for other places to meet. Geneva is considered the most likely meeting place but this has not yet been finalized.
Secondly, while at first all the parties – at least in public – seemed to support the holding of the meeting in early March, then when the issue of where the talks took place began, the change of date began to be promoted behind the scenes. A meeting in New York was convenient for the Secretary-General of the United Nations himself, since he would be at his headquarters. A change of location means that Antonio Guterres's program will have to be adapted accordingly.
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Thirdly, Turkey, which from an early stage showed that it wanted to push the five-party bloc closer to the European Council, did not miss any opportunity. Everything shows that it moved behind the scenes in order to achieve this goal and to lead the informal on the Cyprus issue as close as possible to the European Council meeting to be held on March 25 and 26 in Brussels. The information shows that the Turkish side seems to be achieving this goal and the 5 + 1 meeting goes on after the European Council, possibly in early April.
Fourth, the Turkish side, linking the European Council and talks on the Cyprus issue, wanted: a) To take advantage of the talks on the Cyprus issue in order to pass unscathed from the meeting of European leaders, hoping for positive decisions for it, and b) To depending on the results of the Summit, it can determine its moves at the Cyprus table and justify any of its other demands.
Fifth, the time factor – as can be seen from the daily statements of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials – may work in favor of projecting Turkey's position on two states.
Sixth, the proximity of the Summit and talks comes to put pressure on Nicosia and Athens in terms of their demands for action against Ankara. That is why in the last Anastasiadis-Mitsotakis meeting the possibility of some of those issues that Turkey hopes to benefit from not being decided in March was left open. This possibility will concern Greece and Cyprus more intensely in the coming days.
In addition, the United Nations, obviously seeing that the data as it stands can not give the expected result and pave the way for a final negotiation, is trying to save time. They mainly want the informal conference to be able to give a result when it is convened. The Turkish side's rhetoric about a two-state solution is currently a major obstacle to achieving the informal outcome and opening the process for meaningful talks.
GG AKEL: First let us clarify what we want
The absence of Toumazos Tsielepis in this phase of preparation of the Greek Cypriot side is one of the issues that is widely discussed. However, the secretary general of AKEL clarified yesterday that what is important is to have a clarification of intentions from the Greek Cypriot side.
In his statements, A. Kyprianou reiterated AKEL's position that T. Tsielepis is ready to join the group of advisers “if and when substantive negotiations begin from the point they had left in Crans Montana at the base of the General Secretariat, the convergences that had been achieved to date and the data as formulated in the Joint Declaration in February 2014 “.
The secretary general of AKEL stressed that “the most important thing is to have clear in our minds what we want. And to go with consistency and commitment to what has been agreed over time with the aim of forcing Turkey to abandon its unacceptable demands for a two-state solution, to end its challenges in the EEZ and Varos, and to return to dialogue on the basis of those have been agreed over time. “This is the dominant thing in our view at the moment and the President of the Republic must behave in a way that makes Turkey difficult and not easy.”
Analysis of Turkish positions
Last night, the first negotiating team went up the hill with a series of detailed analyzes on the Turkish positions in the Cyprus issue. The instructions received by the members of the negotiating team from President Anastasiadis were to analyze in detail the positions put forward by the Turkish side.
According to our information, the members of the negotiating team during their analyzes had to answer the question: what does the Turkish demand for a solution of two states with sovereign equality mean and what are its implications in relation to the European Union.
The whole exercise for which the members of the negotiating team worked aimed at preparing, on the basis of international law, the corresponding answers that will be given by the Greek Cypriot side to the Turkish demands.