Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades expressed today hope that the new round of talks will lead to convergences between the two sides, that will bring about a Cyprus settlement.
Speaking on Tuesday, at the Presidential Palace, the President underlined that convergences need to be in line with EU principles and values, as well as the international law and must lead to a functioning state, without disregarding the concerns of any side.
President Anastasiades met on Tuesday with the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, in the framework of UN-led talks for a Cyprus settlement. This was the first meeting between the leaders of the two communities after a two-month intermission.
Upon his return to the Presidential Palace, following a 3-hours meeting, the President welcomed the resumption of talks and said that they had a constructive exchange of views. He announced that the leaders agreed to the dates of their four next meetings, with the first one taking place on April 20.
According to the President, the negotiators of the two sides will meet on Wednesday, in order to bring forward their proposals for the continuation of the dialogue.
Asked if the Turkish side accepted a proposal for drafting a “triptych” with convergences and divergences, the President replied that “based on the triptych there will be further deliberations between the negotiators and of course between the leaders”.
The President was also asked if UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide will assume a different role in the current stage of negotiations and replied negatively. If both sides wish so, they will submit certain questions to Eide, in order to provide them with examples or opinions, he added.
Commenting on the issue of setbacks in previous convergences, coming from the Turkish side, the President of the Republic said that this will be discussed between the negotiators and between the leaders in their four next meetings.
The President said, moreover, that they also discussed a possible continuation of the Geneva Conference, noting however that progress on pending issues needs to precede such a conference.
We are not against a conference that will discuss guarantees and the presence of Turkish occupation troops on the island, as long as it is not according to Turkey`s preconditions, but rather the result of a dialogue between the two leaders, President Anastasiades underlined.
He also dismissed the notion about a formal or informal timetable and said that reaching a settlement depends on the genuine will of each side. “Therefore, there is no timetable, nor an upgraded role for the United Nations” he underlined.
Asked finally if the issue of natural gas was raised during today`s meeting by the Turkish Cypriot leader, President Anastasiades replied that nothing similar was discussed “nor would it be possible for me to accept negotiating the sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus”.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed efforts to reunify the island under a federal roof were suspended when Mustafa Akinci walked out of a meeting in mid February, claiming that a House decision to commemorate, briefly, in school a 1950 referendum advocating union with Greece was in fact a shift in the long standing position of the Greek Cypriot side for a bicommunal, bizonal federal solution in Cyprus.
On April 4, Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus announced that talks would resume, following consultations with both sides and other deliberations.