As 2013 opened, the Republic of Cyprus had just concluded what many agreed was
a highly successful six-month presidency of the Council of the European
Union (EU) that began on July 1, 2012. During that same six-month period,
the republic continued to experience banking and fiscal crises not unlike
what was taking place in Greece and elsewhere throughout Europe, resulting in the
beginning of a prolonged negotiation with the EU for financial assistance and
the implementation of a tough economic austerity program. The republic, at
the beginning of 2013, also entered a period of national elections for a
Lost in the conduct of the EU presidency, the trauma of the fiscal crisis, and
the beginning of the electoral season was the negotiations with the
Turkish Cypriots to try to resolve the political division of Cyprus and
set reunification into motion. By May 2012, the U.N.-sponsored talks, which
had endured two years (2010-2012) of intense negotiations including regular
leadership meetings, technical level discussions, and five meetings with U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, had essentially reached a stalemate and were
suspended. Republic of Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish
Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu were simply unable to find common ground or
make enough necessary concessions on the difficult issues of governance, security,
property rights, territory, and citizenship (mostly involving mainland Turks
who had “settled” in the north), to craft a final settlement.
On February 27, 2013, Nicos Anastasiades of the DISY party, was sworn in as the
new president of the Republic of Cyprus after having won office in a
February 24 second-round presidential vote. Anastasiades, who himself had
supported the 2004 Annan Plan for reunification, had partnered during the
election cycle with the center-right DIKO party, which had expressed strong opposition
to many of the positions reportedly taken by former President Christofias in
the negotiations with the Turkish Cypriots.
With the election over, and Anastasiades committed to first addressing the
government’s fiscal crisis, questions have been raised about how, when,
and under what conditions the talks would restart. The Turkish Cypriots
saw an opportunity to hopefully start over, under different conditions,
with a newly elected government in the republic. However, Mr. Eroglu recently
stated that “while there is a Greek Cypriot administration in the South,
there is the TRNC state in the North. The Cyprus Republic was a state
based on the partnership of Turkish and Greek Cypriots. We were ousted
from this republic in 1963 and [now] we are seeking a bicommunal state based on
bizonality, political equality and two founding states.” This view, which seems
to set a new condition for resuming the talks, will not likely be shared
by the Anastasiades government. Eroglu has also restated his belief that
if the talks resume they must come with a deadline for conclusion, a
demand previously rejected by the Christofias administration.
Legislation (H.Res. 676 and S.Con.Res. 47) had been introduced during the 112th Congress calling for support for the republic. The Congress
will likely continue to maintain its interest in a resolution of the
Cyprus issue during the 113th Congress.
This report provides a brief overview of the history of the negotiations,
a more detailed review of the negotiations since 2008, and a description
of some of the issues involved in the talks.
Date of Report: March 5, 2013
Number of Pages: 27 Order Number: R41136 Price: $29.95
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