The New York High-Level Meeting

January 17-20, 1985

The high-level meeting between the then President of Cyprus, Mr. Kyprianou and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, took place in New York between January 17 and 20, 1985. The aim of the meeting was, according to the UN Secretary-General, "to move from the documentation that they worked out during the ‘proximity talks' to the conclusion of an agreement". De Cuellar had stressed during a press conference on December 19, 1984 that he did not see the high level meeting as a mere formality and that what he expected at the meeting was constructive discussion, during which the two sides would set out their views on his presentation. Acting in accordance with the above guidelines Mr. Kyprianou indicated how he considered the move should be made from the existing documentation to an agreement and the work that in his view ought to be done. The Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash on the other hand insisted that what the SecretaryGeneral had referred to as "documentation" and "outlines" should be signed immediately with the mere filling in of some dates and that all the substantial issues should be relegated to "working groups", which was contrary to one of the provisions in the preliminary draft agreement he wished to sign.
For example, in the preliminary draft agreement it is stressed that territorial readjustments would be agreed at the high-level meeting and that the extent of these readjustments and the number of refugees who would return to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration would be defined in the agreement that was to emerge. Another example is the question of foreign troops and elements* referred to in the document. Regarding this question it was explicitly explained that an agreement on the timing of withdrawal of foreign troops would be discussed at the high-level meeting. The then President Mr. Kyprianou proposed, in a final effort to avert the deadlock, the holding of a new high-level meeting to be fixed as soon as possible to deal with four basic issues i.e. the withdrawal of foreign troops, the territorial issue, the fundamental freedoms and the guarantees, suggesting at the same time the immediate setting up of a working group to start studying the constitutional aspect and submit its findings to the high-level meeting.
In the light of the situation, the U.N. Secretary-General invited the two sides to a new high-level meeting by the end of February 1985. His proposal was accepted at once by the Greek Cypriot side.
The Turkish side maintained its intransigence and insisted on signing the incomplete document. The Turkish Cypriot leader also refused to commit himself to any date of a new meeting adding that he considered the meeting a failure implying that everything that had been agreed up to that stage had to be renegotiated. Denktash then proceeded with new provocative faits accomplis i.e. the holding of a "referendum" on the pseudo-state's new "constitution" and "general elections".


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Giorgos Zacharia ( © 1995-1999.