I am ready to continue the negotiation from where they were left at Crans Montana, on the basis of the Guterres’ Framework and the non-paper for the implementation of the solution, and to discuss the core pending issues through a package approach. Anastasiades didn’t grab the chance.
For many years many political forces in the Greek Cypriot community, with the exception of AKEL, had an ambivalent stand on the interpretation of bi-zonal bi-communal federation and only paid a lip service to the term.
Cyprus is a secular state. Even more so it is a multicultural country. Hence, this must be reflected in the education policy of the state. The church has a role to exercise with the community, but not within the state. The latter must express the will and composition of the whole of the island.
I will appoint a Turkish Cypriot presidential commissioner that will act as the liaison with the TC community. I will also establish an Institute of Civilisation and Culture that will act as a federating force and enhance the cooperation between the two communities.
A group of EOKA-B terrorists came to our house looking for my father and one of them pulled me out of the house, put me against the wall, pulled a gun out, put the revolver in my mouth and said ‘Where is your father? If I find him ill shoot him.’ I was only seven and this had a traumatic effect on me.
I strongly believe that this country has been plagued by nationalism and racism. So I have been a strong proponent of combatting within our society, fascism as well as the activities of ELAM and other extremists. But a stalemate, like we have today, is a breeding ground for these kinds of movements.
Esra A: In your election campaign, you repeatedly express the need for a solution in Cyprus. What is the first step you would take in this direction if you were elected in February 2018?
Malas: Immediately after the presidential elections, I will meet with the Turkish Cypriot Leader with the aim to agree for a new round of talks based on the conditions and terms laid down by the UN Secretary General in his recent report. I am ready to discuss and prepare with the Turkish Cypriot leader for a joint request to the UNSG for the resumption of the negotiations under the auspices of the UN. I am ready to continue the negotiation from where they were left at Crans Montana, on the basis of the Guterres’ Framework (1) and the non-paper for the implementation of the solution (2), and to discuss the core pending issues as prescribed by the UNSG, through a package approach. I will not withdraw any agreed convergences. Provided of course that the Turkish Cypriot side does the same… If not, there is a real danger for the permanent partition of Cyprus, a constant nightmare for our homeland and people as a whole, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Esra A: Do you think a chance was missed in Crans Montana? How would you have behaved if you were on that dinner table on the last evening in Crans Montana?
Malas: Allow me to begin by stating the obvious: the collapse of the talks constitutes a severe blow to the expectations in both communities in Cyprus. Especially, if one considers what the UNSG states in his recent report and his concluding remark that a “historic opportunity” for the solution of the Cyprus problem there we missed… If I was there I would have continued the talk, based on the non-paper on implementation of the solution submitted by the UNSG on security, and would have asked Turkey to state its case at the highest level.
Esra A: You mean you would allow the prime ministers to come there?
Malas: Absolutely, when I say highest level – maybe they wanted to bring the prime ministers or maybe the presidents… Look, you’ve got the UNSG’s framework layout on the six points and you also have the supplementary paper on the implementation on the table. If he puts on the table something like that clearly he wants to instigate a process right? And when you look at the content and see that the content is very close to what you believe, what you do? You just say to the Secretary General ‘This is my case, I agree with that, I am ready to discuss it, and ill be happy to listen to the other sides’ position.’… Anastasiades didn’t grab the chance. That’s a clear point. What Anastasiades and Cavusoglu had been doing that night was essentially discussing in such a way to nullify the existence of that framework. From a different perspective but with the same objective.
Esra A: Do you agree with the UNSG that what was lacking was not an understanding on core elements but political will and determination?
Malas: If the Secretary General says that, particularly for the Greek Cypriot side that presents itself as the side that really wants a solution, that’s something pretty negative. I would say Anastasiades didn’t have the will to go for a solution at the time thinking of the elections. If you ask me today if Anastasiades is the man, who can bring the solution, I’ll say ‘no.’ During his statement at the UN General Assembly, Anastasiades said: “How can I accept the solution of the Cyprus problem if the other side is a subordinate entity to Turkey?” This is just like saying ‘my partner that I would like to join forces and be part of a governance structure together, is somebody that is going to default.’ Well if you are a third party and you are listening to the president say that, you say ‘well this guy doesn’t have the will for a solution.’ Which is a dangerous position… A Greek Cypriot listening to this would ask ‘why should I walk this road if at the end of the day it will be a partnership that isn’t going to work?’ We don’t trust in our partner, why should we bother? This is the position he is laying doing. So essentially, he is creating fear, he is poisoning the climate and he is really eroding any positive spirit that a leader should create in the Greek Cypriot community for a solution.
On the other hand, Nicholas Papadopoulos’ position is very clear too – according to him the process is a non-starter. He says ‘the agreements reached are unacceptable. We can’t start from there.’ So you know the result will be a stalemate.
Esra A: You say in your speeches that we don't have much time left for solution. Do you think there are alternatives to a bi-zonal bi-communal federation in Cyprus?
Malas: The transformation of the Republic of Cyprus from a unitary State to a federal one within the framework of a bi-zonal bi-communal federation is the only way forward to reunite our country and the two communities. The fundamental principles upon which such an administrative structure will evolve are well known, have been agreed between the two sides and have been reaffirmed in a number of Security Council resolutions… The structures that we will agree must lay the foundations for the forces on either side of the island that believe in a solution to collaborate. Which is why I am prepared to discuss the issue of the rotating presidency provided we go for a single ballot paper and cross voting. And I call upon my Turkish Cypriot friends to understand, that that is a politically fundamental instrument to unite politically the two communities… With regards to the question of time, I do not adopt the logic of time-bound procedures. Nevertheless, if the core issues are resolved, then we can hope for a solution within a short period of time. The passage of time entrenches the tragic consequences of the division.
Esra A: There is concern among many Greek Cypriots regarding a bi-zonal bi-communal federation. How will you reverse the public sentiment?
Malas: Allow me to disagree. Recent findings show the exact opposite, namely that the majority of Greek Cypriots consider a bi-zonal bi-communal federation as the only achievable solution. Of course, we cannot ignore their justified concern over the transition to an unfamiliar administrative structure. The fact that for many years - and I dare to say until recently - many political forces in the Greek Cypriot community, with the exception of AKEL, had an ambivalent stand on the interpretation of bi-zonal bi-communal federation and only paid a lip service to the term… What one needs to do is to engage people and explain in simple terms what exactly we are discussing and what the future lays ahead. Because the citizens are those, who have to support the solution and who will live with it and support it in practice. Hence, a positive public sentiment -all the way- is enormously important. To get there, we need a political leadership that will engage in a constant and sincere dialogue with the citizens and the civil society. And of course, we need a political leadership with a responsible attitude, cognisant of the differences and prepared to address them in a conciliatory manner so that the citizens can both trust the choices of their leadership and be inspired by their leaders.
Esra A: The way our children are educated at schools is one of the biggest obstacles in front of peace and biggest reasons of the raising nationality. What is your policy regarding education and the church’s involvement in it?
Malas: I have already declared that with my election I will pursue a completely different policy to that of Mr. Anastasiades. Cyprus is a secular state. Even more so it is a multicultural country. Hence, this must be reflected in the education policy of the state. We must teach our children to be tolerant and respectful towards the others- irrespective of any differences. When elected, I will re-introduce through the reform of the education system, the goal of enhancing tolerance, non-discrimination and respect for all human beings irrespective of national origin, religious belief or sexual orientation. Not only because we have to generally progress as a society, but also particularly because this is the cornerstone for sustaining peace in our country. The church has a role to exercise with the community, but not within the state. The latter must express the will and composition of the whole of the island. Of course, acknowledging the importance of the overall state policies in combating nationalist and discriminatory sentiments and practices, I will take all the necessary measures in that direction. To give a concrete example, the violent actions against citizens from the other community will not be tolerated and whoever is involved will face the legal consequences of their actions.
Esra A: Are you in touch or cooperating with Turkish Cypriots pro-solution forces? What kind of a relationship or policy will you pursue towards the Turkish Cypriots if you are elected?
Malas: I have known personally key TC politicians for many years including Mr. Akinci, Mr. Talat and Mr. Nami. I consider them as very good friends and this matters in politics! I will not only maintain my existing contacts but also do my utmost to expand them. My intention is to engage into an on-going dialogue with the civil society and discuss with them all the aspects of the negotiations for which they have a specific concern. This dialogue will be parallel to the direct talks and will never be employed as a pretext for delaying the resumption of the negotiations or to avoid my outright engagement to the negotiations. I will also appoint a Turkish Cypriot presidential commissioner that will act as the liaison with the TC community. Dialogue especially among solution forces is a precondition for a positive outcome and a sustainable solution. No political agreement can be sustained if this is not underpinned by a political fermentation between politicians that believe and work for re-unification. As part of my program, I will establish an Institute of Civilisation and Culture that will act as a federating force and enhance the cooperation between the two communities.
Esra A: Your family became a target of EOKA-B because of their close relations with Makarios. You were faced with EOKA-B violence as a child. How did this affect you as a person?
Malas: As you rightly said, my family was very close to Makarios. My mother was a close relative and my father was a close aide to Makarios before 1974 particularly in combatting the EOKA-B activity in the region of Famagusta. So my father was a target. EOKA-B was very active in the Famagusta area very violently. I think it was on 29th of July 1974. A group of EOKA-B terrorists supported by some members of the police also some army people came to our house looking for my father and one of them, who was a known EOKA-B member – I wont disclose his name but I know him very well, he now died, he is well known to the Turkish Cypriots as well, he is a known terrorist, he didn’t turn guns only on Greek Cypriots but he turned guns also against Turkish Cypriots in the area of Trikomo – Aloa, Sandalaris - pulled me out of the house, put me against the wall, pulled a gun out, put the revolver in my mouth and said ‘Where is your father? If I find him ill shoot him.’ I was only seven and this had a traumatic effect on me… I strongly believe that this country has been plagued by nationalism and racism. So I have been a strong proponent of combatting within our society, fascism as well as the activities of ELAM and other extremists. They are a real threat…. But clearly if we have a stalemate, like we have today, it’s a breeding ground and a very fertile ground for these kind of movements. And the more so-called moderate voices keep the Cyprus problem prolonged, the more the breeding ground will propagate these kinds of activities.
(1) Guterres Framework
Need to adjust the map presented by the TCs to respond to concerns expressed by GCs regarding some locations
(1) Guterres Framework
Need to adjust the map presented by the TCs to respond to concerns expressed by GCs regarding some locations
Rotating Presidency with 2:1 ratio
Decision-making (effective participation): simple majority with one positive vote with deadlock resolving mechanism/ in cases where issues are of vital interest for the communities
Two property regimes: for areas under territorial adjustment and the rest regime to be constructed in a way that would lend itself to give priority to dispossessed owners, for areas not under territorial adjustment regime to be constructed in a way that would lend itself to give priority current users. Specific elements to be further elaborated.
Free movement of goods (= customs union + a quota to be agreed for primary agricultural products), services and capital are ok.
Free movement of persons: the regime will permit tourists, students and seasonal workers. For those seeking permanent residence, equitable treatment will be granted to Greek and Turkish nationals in Cyprus.
Security and guarantees
SG outlined that he did not think that a system in which right of intervention would remain would be sustainable. He said that areas that are under the Treaty of Guarantees could be replaced by adequate implementation monitoring mechanisms, covering various aspects, to be mutually agreed. In some of these, Guarantor Powers could be involved. A security system should ensure that both communities feel safe in a united Cyprus, while the security of one should not come at the detriment of the other.
The issue of troops is a different question relative to the Treaty of Guarantees, and to be handled in a different format. Issues related to troops (numbers, withdrawals if and when they will need to leave, timelines, etc) to be agreed at the highest level when time is ripe.
(2) NON-PAPER ON IMPLEMENTATION MONITORING FRAMEWORK
Sent to Crans Montana by Antonio Guterres, UNSG
Implementation of the parties of the following elements of the agreement based on their respective responsibilities:
· Constitutional aspects of the settlement
· Territorial adjustments
· Policing provisions
· Withdrawal of foreign troops, demobilization of domestic forces
· Implementation of the property settlement
· EU acquis compliance (monitoring by the EU)
Ground Level operation monitoring, including of troop withdrawal and demobilization, performed by the UN mission.
Reports to the UN’s Security Council every three months on all aspects of the agreement. Other actors may also play a role (eg EU acquis compliance related issues).
LEVEL 2 – Committee of the parties (COP)
Composition: 2 representatives of the Federal Government (1 Greek Cypriot, 1 Turkish Cypriot), 1 representative from each constituent state, 1 representative from Turkey, 1 representative from Greece, 1 representative from UN acting as chair.
Role: Non-executive body but with responsibilities for assessing overall implementation by reviewing draft reports, prepare but with no editorial role. Addressing any issues in implementation through consultation problem solving.
LEVEL 3 (Optional)
Group of eminent persons. Eminent or trusted Cypriots and/or international personalities.
Role: Provide advice, support and recommendations in relation to implementation, receive input from implementing parties present on COP, advising the UNSG and/or the implementing parties on progress made in implementation.
Impartial certification of implementation by the UNSG
Role: Based on reports prepared by the UN Mission, the UNSG pronounces on himself/herself on whether or not implementation of the settlement is on track. He/she could also receive inputs directly from the implementing parties.
UN Security Council
As an additional measure, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus could be invited to attend sessions of the Security Council when the implementation reports are tabled and considered.