Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci continued on Thursday their talks aiming to reach convergences on the issues which are still pending at the negotiations on the Cyprus problem by discussing the chapter of governance.

President Nicos Anastasiades (Left) – Turkish leader Mustafa Akinci (R)

In statements upon his arrival at the Presidential Palace Anastasiades said that relative progress has been achieved adding at the same time that quite a lot of work remains to be done. Furthermore he said that the various chapters will be discussed interdependently.

Asked if the date for the convening of the next session of the Conference on Cyprus has been agreed, Anastasiades said that it will probably take place after the 13th of March.

In his statements, Anastasiades said that the negotiators of the two sides have written down “the convergences, the slightest divergences and the big divergences” and that on the basis of this preparation the two leaders began their discussion to see how more differences are transformed into convergences. He added that today they discussed the chapter of Governance.

He said that relative progress was achieved but quite a lot of work remains to be done. Furthermore he noted that discussion on the various chapters will take place interdependently “to achieve, on the basis of everything that has been also agreed in the past, the biggest possible convergences before the Conference on Cyprus”

Asked if the UNSG`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide informed them on his recent meetings with the guarantor powers, Anastasiades said that they have a picture about what happened in those meetings.

He added that “the general picture is that the intention of the involved parties is to reach a solution as soon as possible,” adding that this will become apparent at the negotiating table so that “we do not rest on the various assurances.”

Responding to another question, Anastasiades said that they did not discuss today about the issue of the four fundamental freedoms.

The Conference on Cyprus convened, on January 12, in Geneva, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, with the participation of Anastasiades and Akinci, the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer, to address the issue of security and guarantees, a crucial chapter in discussions for a Cyprus settlement.

The Conference decided to establish a working group at the level of deputies to identify specific questions and the instruments needed to address them, and that the Conference will continue at political level immediately thereafter to review the outcome of the working group’s discussions.

In parallel, according to the decision, the negotiations on outstanding issues in the other chapters will continue between the two sides in Cyprus.

The working group of deputies met in Mont-Pelerin, Switzerland, on January 18-19, and according to Eide “successfully completed the mandate entrusted to it by the Conference.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led negotiations since May 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

Article written by CNA