ΦΩΝΗ ΚΥΠΡΙΩΝ – KIBRISLILARIN SESİ – CYPRIOTS’ VOICE
The bi-communal forum “CYPRIOTS’ VOICE”, having discussed the Cypriot negotiations and related issues which seem to have reached a critical point, believe that at this time there is an immediate and urgent need to undertake action mainly at the political and civil society levels, and propose to consider the following:
- Current Realities: The negotiating parties must evaluate the realities and view them from a shared strategic perspective. The attainment for a consensus in the negotiations should take into account the negative impact of geographical division; the demographic change caused via inter-marriages and influx of migrant communities as well as their integration into the local communities; the UN Security Council resolutions, the High Level Agreements of 1977 and 1979, the UN plan for a comprehensive solution; and the 2008 agreement regarding the Federal Structure of the New Federal Republic of Cyprus and the parity of the two Constituent states.
- A shared vision: A road map for the Cyprus settlement must be prepared with open-mindness and flexibility taking into consideration some of the root causes of the problem (mistrust, fear, long separation, injustices, past grievances, uncertainty and insecurity).
- The new Federal Republic of Cyprus: The high level agreements of 1977 and 1979 and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions proposed that any settlement will be a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation based on political equality. The federation should have a single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international representation and comprising two constituent states. Recent polls show that the only settlement supported by clear majorities of Greek and Turkish Cypriots is a federal solution. All other settlement alternatives are rejected by one or the other of the communities. (ie. unitary state, solution based on two independent states or con-federal solution).The future Federal Republic of Cyprus will retain its membership to the UNO and the European Union and all its citizens will enjoy the benefits and resources from such a solution-Greeks, Turks, Maronites, Armenians and Latins, and any other citizen residing in the Federal Republic
- Building trust: The missing element in the political search for a settlement is the lack of trust which prevails at the negotiating table and is transferred down to the people. It is totally unproductive to insist upon the damaging doctrine “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. The convergences reached in previous negotiations need to be built upon in the process towards a negotiated settlement. The agreements of the Technical Committees can be implemented as part of building trust. The common tactic of the blame game, needs to stop because it is counterproductive and reinforces mistrust. Cypriots are ready to cooperate, as they have demonstrated this willingness when opportunities were created.
- Culture for a settlement:. Any agreement on confidence building measures which would contribute positively to increase inter-dependence and cooperation among the communities would facilitate not only the solution but also create a cooperative culture needed for the sustainability of the federal solution. These measures could range from a major package such as “opening Varosha under UN control; the Old Famagusta City suggested to be designated as an UNESCO site; Turkish Cypriots being included in the Customs Union; opening the ports in northern Cyprus under EU supervision; Turkey opening its ports and airspace to the Republic of Cyprus will definitely lead to the improvement of Turkey-EU negotiations”. Other facilitative initiatives could include the restoration of internal telephone communication including GSMs; common structures and organisational arrangements in sports and athletics within the country and at the international level; promotion of common cultural activities; put up tri-lingual road signs and use the same car insurance. These actions should be initiated by the UN and actively involve the communities, as well as the EU and the Guarantor Powers. Implementing jointly agreed proposals will lead to a win-win outcome and encourage positive thinking by all concerned including Turkey and other international actors. A Settlement is not an end but a beginning and all these processes will need to continue should referenda support agreements proposed by the leadership .
- The Outcomes of a Settlement: A negotiated Cyprus settlement would greatly improve the financial and political dynamics which would in turn multiply the political effects both locally and in the region and internationally. A negotiated agreement needs to ensure a real settlement of all issues and not simply a normalisation of the relationship with Turkey.
- The benefits that could result from such an opportunity include:
- Positive effects on the economies in both parts of the island which are now under similar economic strain;
- Turkey would be part of an international consortium on equal terms with the Republic of Cyprus for the sale of natural gas to Europe via a cheaper pipeline through Turkey;
- Free access of citizens, if only to Varosha as an immediate measure, could create astounding financial flows to the economy as a result of the reconstruction process along with the related international investments that could be triggered by economic stability;
- Immediate savings from using Turkish air space and ports and related synergies to tourism and transit trade;
- Long term positive effects from the transfer of water and electricity from Turkey at very low comparative cost;
- A culture of cooperation and gradual trust will open up opportunities in the educational and cultural fields, and tourism, as well as exchanges of human resources;
- A climate of stability and peaceful relations will put Cypriots on the international map of peaceful conflict resolution political literature instead of the “study of ethnic conflict”.
- Equality and non-discrimination: The issues of gender equality and non-discrimination at all levels should be included in the discussion of all aspects of a negotiated agreement and in the future constitution. This missing culture should be reinforced through acceptance and implementation of the UNSC resolution 1325 (2000) which states that women’s voices and presence at the negotiating table and in the peace building process should be included. This is a matter of human rights, participatory democracy and development. To this end the Cypriot women’s Advisory Team (GAT) has prepared concrete recommendations from a gender perspective on the issues of governance, citizenship, property and economy. Consultations with activist groups, NGOs are needed so as to influence the Cypriot leaders to pay attention to the gender equality provisions.
- Common Cultural Heritage: The common cultural heritage may inspire a settlement of the Cyprus issue and help achieve results developing ethical and social appreciation. The restoration of monuments, promoted by the relevant bicommunal processes, is one example of a process which, although obstructed by forces of negativity in both communities, has produced fruitful results, through the hard methodical and open minded work of the relevant technical committee members.
- Cross Party cooperation: Cypriots’ Voice believes that it is of paramount importance to change the political culture in Cyprus so that parties who disagree on some or most issues can work together to reach outcomes that could benefit all. To this effect we call for cooperation of the main political forces representing the vast majority of the population, to work diligently towards the acceptance and implementation of the negotiated settlement.
- Peace and stability: Cypriots’ Voice strongly believe that the present domestic, regional and international dynamics for the solution of the Cyprus problem offer this opportunity. We encourage both Leaders to agree to a common declaration so as to start negotiations and produce a settlement as soon as possible. We also invite the NGOs, the media and those who want a settlement to actively support and promote this process. A settlement is vital to improve the standard of life of all the citizens, it is beneficial to all parties concerned and will also contribute positively to the peace and stability in the region.
Communiqué no 24 – Cypriots’ Voice 11/12/2013