Spain offers six-party talks on Cyprus March 18, 2010Posted by Yilan in Cyprus, Turkey.
Tags: Cyprus, Kibris, Spain
Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat (L) and Egemen Bağış.
In an effort to kick start stalling Cyprus talks, current European Union president Spain has proposed a six-party meeting to help reunify the divided island.
In addition to Turkey, Greece, northern Cyprus and Greek Cyprus, Madrid suggested the United Nations and itself – representing the EU – should participate in the negotiations.
Turkey has accepted the proposal, the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review learned late on Tuesday from diplomatic sources. Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias, meanwhile, has accepted the six-party talks on the condition that he holds a separate meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the sidelines of the summit.
Turkey accepted Christofias’ proposal on its own condition that Turkish Cypriot President Mehmet Ali Talat hold a separate meeting with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, an official of a country that supports Turkey’s accession to the 27-nation bloc, is particularly eager to move peace talks on the island forward, according to sources. Moratinos already spent six years in Cyprus as the EU’s Special Representative to the Middle East.
The proposal for six-party talks constitutes an effort to speed up the slow-moving peace negotiations and strike a deal before Talat is possibly ousted in next month’s presidential elections.
Talat’s main opponent is known as a hawk and is expected to take a more intransigent stance on reunification if elected.
Meanwhile, a recent decision by the European Court of Human Rights regarding property issues on Cyprus is expected to change the Greek Cypriot stance in the ongoing talks, a Turkish official said Tuesday.
The European court ruled that Greek Cypriots who have properties in northern Cyprus should first apply to the immovable properties commission, or IPC, established in the island’s north.
“The Greek Cypriots have three options. They will either apply to the Turkish Cypriot property commission, solve the property issue through peace talks with Turkish Cypriots or choose to wait longer until a final solution emerges,” said a Turkish official.
The European court’s decision, meanwhile, continues to be a topic of heated public debate in Greek Cyprus. Some have suggested inundating the IPC with thousands of applications to make it incapable of functioning.
Despite such threats, the northern Cypriot administration is preparing to enlarge the IPC in the expectation of increased numbers of applications following the European court decision.
At the same time, Turkish banks are managing the financial dimension of the issue, the Daily News has learned.