Cyprus on Agenda in German FM Turkey Visit
German FM Guido Westerwelle is in Turkey today to meet Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu and Cyprus is on the agenda, ahead of a summit on July 7th between Cyprus' community leaders with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Geneva.
In spite of the EU's behind-the-scenes diplomacy, hopes here are not high that there will be any significant breakthroughs in the talks, with the National Council keeping a tight leash on President Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu still negotiating along the lines of a two-state solution.
On June 29th, Christofias and Eroglu had another face-to-face meeting, but an expected agreement on the police force and international treaties rules in a federal state was not announced.
The Greek-Cypriot negotiating position is along UN lines of a federal state with two zones and a single international identity. The negotiating team rejects a confederation on the basis that it would legitimise Turkey's invasion along with the political, financial support of the 'TRNC', the unilaterally-declared state that is only recognised by Turkey.
Recently, Christofias said that it is unlikely he will be able to report any progress to the UNSG because of Turkish-Cypriot obstinacy in sticking to a two-state solution. The Greek-Cypriot support of a federal state is already a concession to Turkish-Cypriot negotiating demands, he said.
Statements continue to come from Turkey about a solution based on two states, and negotiators in Cyprus have failed to agree on property and governance issues, both of which are key areas in any future political solution.
Still, all eyes are on the next meeting between Christofias, Eroglu and Ban Ki-moon, if for no other reason than to make sure that the two leaders do not have any 'surprises' for the entrenched political interests on the island.
And as for Turkey, Westerwelle points out that no new negotiating chapters have been opened in its EU negotiations. One of the reasons is that eight chapters are frozen over Turkey's refusal to recognise the Republic of Cyprus, an EU member state since 2004. So, no solution in Cyprus means no progress for Turkey's EU ambitions.
Untangling the Gordion Knot of the Cyprus problem has challenged diplomats since 1960, and for the time being, there's no magic solution in sight.