Sunday, 24 January 2010

Talat Cyprus Governance proposals rejected

The Governance and Power-Sharing proposals which were submitted by Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat to the Government of the Republic of Cyprus via the UN special adviser Alexander Downer shortly before the commencement of the 'intensive talks' for a solution of the Cyprus problem in January 2010 were rejected as entirely unacceptable following an emergency meeting of leaders of the main Cyprus political parties.

This letter by President Christofias to the UN Security Council permanent members and heads of EU member states - describes the official reaction to the proposals prepared by Ankara.

"The (proposals) show that the Turkish Cypriot side supports positions which contravene the agreed basis and the sensitive balances which have been shaped during decades of negotiations. It is not possible to expect the Greek Cypriot side to accept positions which are beyond the balances and in fact to such a degree. Even if we were to accept them, it is certain that they would be rejected in a new referendum, disastrous for the prospects of a mutually acceptable settlement of the Cyprus problem."

The video embedded below is the main evening broadcast by Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (in Greek) on 8th January, which described the contents of the Talat proposals, with a translation into English provided below the video.

Newcaster - RIK reveals the Talat proposals, which are far from constructive, he proposes confederal elements, the document has been provided to party leaders, a critical meeting will be held with President Christofias on Sunday morning just before the opening of the intensive negotiations. Concern among the leaders, some of them see a failure of the talks. We will have the details in a moment, after a look at other items in the news.

Newcaster - Good evening ladies and gentlemen, RIK tonight reveals the details of the Talat proposals submitted by Mehmet Ali Talat in the negotiations conveyed to President Christofias by Alexander Downer. Talats proposals are anything other than constructive, containing many confederal elements. The document is already in the hands of the party leaders. There is already intense debate, with some predicting the failure of the talks. Lets first have the details about the Talat proposals from Panagiotis Georgallis in the newsroom. Good evening Panagioti.

Panagiotis Georgallis: Good evening Emilia, and good evening ladies and gentlemen - as you mentioned, the document with the proposals by Talat is with the party leaders, and we have a copy. As you mentioned earlier we reveal the contents of the proposals which were conveyed to President Christofias by Alexander Downer.

The document is entitled - The Turkish Cypriot Comprehensive Proposals on the Government and Power Sharing Chapter ...

Kenevezou - one of the chapters which will be discussed from Monday during the intensive negotiations ...

Georgallis - exactly ... the document consists of seven pages and consists of ten sections preceded by a short introduction which states the basic principle that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Lets us take the sections one at a time ...

Georgallis - The first one concerns the Executive, which according to the Talat proposals for a President and Vice President who will serve for a 5 year term and there is reference by the Turkish Cypriot leader to a rotating Presidency. Talat proposes, ladies and gentlemen, that the Greek President's term should be for 3 years and that of the Turkish Cypriot for 2 years, meaning there is a differentiation from the proposal by President Christofias which envisaged 4 years for the Greek Cypriot President and two for the Turkish Cypriot President. The Talat proposal also suggests that the Council of Ministers should consist of 12 members and he proposes these should be 7 Greek Cypriots and 5 Turkish Cypriots and refers to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that of European Affairs should not be held by members of the same constituent state. The same is sought for the following pairs of Ministries, Ministry of Finance and Internal Affairs, and those of Natural Resources and Transport. Talat also wants there to be a positive vote by both President and Vice President on all decisions which means that there will be a veto power on all decisions which is different to the initial proposal by the Turkish Cypriot leader for there to be the right to a veto on 4 issues, namely Foreign Affairs, defence, security and finance.

Kenevezou ... in other words this will now apply to all matters ...

Georgallis - The second section is called Legislature, which in his proposal, Talat says there should be a majority of two fifths of the members of the Senate from each community for any decision to be passed, and the Talat proposal additionally suggests there should be a simple majority of senators present, but not according to the document, less than one quarter from each constituent state. The same article states that representation in the Senate will be 50/50 while representation in the House of Representatives will correspond to that of the population ratio and the Talat proposal contains the phrase 'on the basis of internal citizenship status'.

Georgallis - Section 3, Administration, envisages the establishment of organisations to regulate the financial and monetary sectors, of competition, of private pension schemes, the maintenance of the social security fund, regulation of macro-economic stability, and of cooperative institutions.

The proposal states that these organisations will not have equal composition, but 4 members from the Greek Cypriot, and three members from the Turkish Cypriot side. However, we must mention that for any decision to be made there will have to be 2 positive votes from each community.

The fourth section concerns external relations. Here it is mentioned that the constituent states will have the right to make agreements with other states and international organisations which are recognised by the state of United Cyprus. Suc international agreements will have to not be contrary to the policy of the Federal state so that problems will not be created in the international relations of the Federal State.

The Talat proposal envisages that Cyprus will continue to have a special relationship with Greece and Turkey and that the balance between the two countries will be maintained as set up by the 1960 agreements and by the document of the new settlement.

The fourth section also stresses that Cyprus will provide equal treatment to Greece and Turkey, and this is a significant point, including as it says, the four basic freedoms until such time as Turkey becomes a member of the European Union. The four basic freedoms are not specified but we suppose this means freedom of settlement, of movement, of the right to acquire property, and to enjoyment of services.

Kenevezou - this effectively refers to the chapter on settlers, does it not?

Georgallis - effectively, the Talat proposal covers not only the Turkish settlers but also of any Turkish citizen who comes to Cyprus.

To go on to section 5, which is called basic principles for the solution of the Cyprus problem, the Talat proposal mentions among other matters that the two constituent states will have equal status while it also mentioned that there will be a single sovereignty which will be shared equally by each constituent state.

Section 6 refers to the hierarchy of laws, where it is proposed that Federal laws which refers to the authority of the Federal government will be superior to those of the constituent states, but the Talat proposal also mentions that the laws of the constituent states, with reference to their own authority, will supercede those of the Federal state.

Section 7 refers to the old legislation and treaties, with the proposal stating that claims for demands or responsibility which originate prior to the agreement which will be reached, in other words before the settlement of the Cyprus problem, will be settled by the constituent states.

Section 8 is entitled, authorities, and proposes that the agricultural and fisheries sectors will fall under the jurisdiction of the constituent states while those of health and defence will fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal government. The proposal states that civil aviation will be under the jurisdiction of the federal government, however it must be stressed that the Talat proposal envisages two FIRs which will belong to the constituent states, therefore each constituent state, ladies and gentlement, will have administrative rights in the FIR which contradicts the statement made by Talat that civil aviation is also under the jurisdiction of the federal government.

To go on to section 9, entitled police - this refers basically to representation, with Mehmet Ali Talat proposing that the federal police force will be 50/50 from each constituent state, and we are talking here about clearly numerical equality, as is the case also in the last section which is entitled civil service and states that the civil service, known as EDY, will consist of a president and a vice president and four members, two from each community, with the proposal stating that the president and vice president will rotate every year.

This is the document of the proposals by Mehmet Ali Talat which was conveyed to President Christofias by Alexander Downer and which we reveal tonight, and that we are to expect is that this will be discussed by the party leaders during their emergency meeting on Sunday, following which we will know the reaction by the government and by the political parties ...

Kenevezou - we saw the President today not wanting to make a statement on the matter prior to the emergency meeting of the party leaders on Sunday and before the beginning of the intensive negotiations - however we already have comments by political leaders which will see in due course. Thank you Panagioti, and good night.

We go now, ladies and gentlement, to Turkey, where the Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu referred to the proposals submitted by Mehmet Ali Talat as a serious initiative, and we have also had statements by Mehmet Ali Talat himself ... our Constantinople correspondent Anna Andreou will tell us more ... good evening Anna.

Anna Andreou - Good evening from Constantinople ... the latest deliberations are such as should be taken seriously, said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, characterising the package of proposals by the Turkish side as a serious initiative. In an interview with Channel 24, Foreign Minister Davutoglu said that Ankara will continue with its determination on the Cyprus issue. He refrained from providing details about the proposals, saying only that all parties now know about the deliberations of the Turkish side. 2010 will see an intensification of efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, said Ahmet Davutoglu. Referring to the Annan Plan, he said it was a plan which was submitted after great and long-lasting efforts, but now, he said, these efforts are made within a new context.

Mehmet Ali Talat also made significant statements today, who, while also refraining from providing details as to the content of the package, said that what is being published about the package does not correspond to reality.

... back to you Emilia.

Kenevezou - thank you Anna, and good night.

Some Links:

Alithia (Cyprus Newspaper, in Greek)

Phileleftheros (Cyprus Newspaper, in Greek)

Greek Reporter (Athens source, in English)

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