Seventh Round of Talks

After a two-year break in the inter-communal talks, President Kyprianou and Mr. Denktash met under the chairmanship of the U.N. Secretary-General on 18 and 19 May 1979, and reached agreement on a 10-point programme outlining the procedure for fresh negotiations. The key element in the agreement was that the basis for talks would be the MakariosDenktash guidelines of February 1977 and the UN resolutions on Cyprus. Under the accord, the two sides also agreed to give priority to the resettlement of Varosha under U.N. auspices. Talks on the planned resettlement would begin simultaneously with discussions on the constitutional and territorial problems. Moreover resettlement was to occur without waiting for agreement on other aspects of the Cyprus problem. The 10-point plan envisaged the "demilitarization of Cyprus" and stipulated that any matters (e.g. security) relating to this issue would be discussed. Another provision was that negotiations would be "carried out in a continuing and sustained manner".1
But soon after the talks opened on 15 June the Turkish Cypriot interlocutor demanded that the Greek Cypriot side accept in advance the idea of a "bizonal state", despite the fact that the four guidelines agreement, to which Mr. Denktash had put his signature, envisaged a "bicommunal federal system".
The Greek Cypriot negotiator, in a show of goodwill, said he was prepared to discuss the term provided this was done at the conference table, but the Turkish Cypriot side was adamant. It insisted on the acceptance of a "bizonal" state prior to negotiations. Meanwhile, the Turkish Cypriot side had already indicated that as far as it was concerned "bizonality" was synonymous with "partition". In an interview with the Turkish Cypriot magazine Olay (16.7.79), Mr. Denktash gave his definition of the term "bizonal". He said: "The meaning of bizonal is that I am a state that has territory as one of the two federated states. I am sovereign on many things within this territory. My sovereignty is absolute; no one can take it away from me". The "security of the Turkish Cypriot community", was another nebulous term which the Turkish Cypriot leadership insisted that the Greek Cypriot side accept outside the prescribed sphere of the talks.
The Greek Cypriot side pointed out that the question of security should be raised during discussion of the clause on the total demilitarization of Cyprus as originally agreed. This would permit discussion not only of the legitimate security of the Turkish Cypriots but also of the Greek Cypriots who, under the circumstances, had every reason to want guarantees for their security.
The 10-point agreement was again violated by the Turkish Cypriot side when its negotiator refused to give priority to the Varosha issue. The talks were further sabotaged by EVKAF, a Turkish Cypriot religious trust, which claimed that most of Greek-owned Varosha belonged to the Pashas during Ottoman rule and was subsequently inherited by EVKAF. Following a suit filed by EVKAF against the "TFSC", the "Famagusta District Court" ruled that EVKAF "property" in Varosha be protected and that Varosha should not be discussed at the talks until the "court" hearing was finalised.
The Turkish mainland paper "Aydinlik" (18.6.79) termed the EVKAF claim "a formula to torpedo the inter-communal talks", and made the following pertinent remark: "One wonders to which Pashas Athens, Salonika, Belgrade, and Budapest belong. If they also belong to some Pasha, then we could reach again the gates of Vienna". In view of the Turkish Cypriot side's refusal to abide by the 10-point agreement, the talks floundered after four sessions.
In November 1979, the U.N. General Assembly passed resolution 34/30 expressing support for the 10-point agreement and calling for the urgent resumption of the talks under the auspices of the U.N. Secretary-General.1 The Turkish Cypriot side, however, refused to return to the negotiating table and threatened instead to declare an independent "state" in the part of the island under occupation. In an effort to break the deadlock the U.N. Secretary-General proposed various alternative "formulas" for the resumption of the talks. On 6 June 1980, the two sides finally agreed that the talks resume with an opening statement outlining the U.N. Secretary-General's assessment of the common ground between the two parties. As a concession to the Turkish Cypriot side the statement would contain references to "bizonality" It would also refer to the question of security and each side would be allowed to give its own explanation of what it understood by these terms.
But the next day Mr. Denktash made a typical volte-face and withdrew his earlier endorsement of the U.N. proposal. The then U.N. Under Secretary-General, Mr. Perez de Cuellar, who had specially flown to Cyprus for the purpose of reviving the stalled intercommunal talks, indicated in a public statement that the Turkish Cypriot side was clearly to blame for the impasse.


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Giorgos Zacharia ( 1995-1999.