During the following weeks Greek and Turkish community leaders will carry on negotiations on reunification talks with the object of arranging the first multilateral conference since the partition of Cyprus 43 years ago. These talks are seen as a determining event in the laborious process of resolving such a diplomatic puzzle.
Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akıncı will try to outline the essential features for a possible peace deal after more than 18 months of intense negotiations to settle inter-ethnic divisions. So far, issues of governance, political power-sharing, the economy and the European Union have also been discussed. Nevertheless, security will be the last point to be argued.
The commitment to a settlement from both leaders has helped to increase hopes. At a time where uncertainty is ruling in Europe, there is a belief that a peace agreement would bring stability to the region. Additionally, Antónito Guterres, the new United Nations Secretary General, called it a “historic opportunity”.
The historical peace deal that the President Juan Manuel Santos and the country’s largest rebel group’s leader Rodrigo Londoño “Timochenko” had signed days before has been defeated by Colombians in a referendum yesterday, throwing the country into sudden confusion about its future.
With counting concluded from 98.98% of polling stations, the “no” vote won by 50.2% to 49.8%, a difference of fewer than 54,000 votes. The verdict on the peace deal between the government and the FARC, achieved after four years of intense negotiations, means it cannot be now implemented.
After publishing the results, Santos said he would send his negotiators back to Havana to meet with FARC leaders today, adding that he would continue seeking peace until the last of his presidency. Moreover, he will also meet with all political parties in order to find a way to achieve the final peace process.
The FARC leader, on the other hand, claimed that the insurgent group would maintain its desire for peace, reiterating its disposition to “use only words as weapon to build toward the future”.
Although the bilateral ceasefire that has been in place since 29 August will continue, there is a high uncertainty on how the peace process will proceed and what steps need to be taken from now on in order to maintain social and political stability in the country.