Leaders set agenda for ‘intensified’ talks
President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci kicked off a new round of intensified talks following a brief summer break, agreeing to meet a further six times until September 14 (on 29/8, 31/8, 2, 6, 8 and 14/9).
According to reports, the two leaders, meeting for the first time since Akinci visited Ankara last week following the failed coup attempt, have agreed to put for discussion all six chapters of negotiation, in order to fast-track the process.
The President, in statements to the press after Tuesday’s meeting which lasted almost three hours, said that the Greek Cypriot side does not reject the idea of a tripartite meeting in New York after the UN General Assembly, between himself, the Turkish Cypriot leader and the UNSG Ban Ki Moon, given there is sufficient progress in the peace negotiations.
However, UN officials had said this would be impossible during the General Assembly.
In his statements, the President described Tuesday’s meeting as “quite productive” for the methodology that will be followed in the remaining meetings, as well as informative on issues that were developed in the recent days.
He said that he was informed in general about the recent meeting between Akinci and Turkish President Tayip Erdogan, but not in detail, adding that from what he understands, the Turkish President reiterated his will to contribute to a Cyprus solution, according to the Cyprus News Agency.
Anastasiades said that they did not discuss the issue of guarantees and what has been published in the media is just some ideas which were developed. He underlined that our proposals have been formed on the basis of what we have declared as the Greek Cypriot side and cannot respond to what has been published on the issue of guarantees.
He said that following the intensified round of talks, on September 14, the progress that will have been achieved will then be determined.
During Tuesday’s meeting the two leaders decided the chapters that will be discussed in each of the following meetings, including the issue of properties.
Anastasiades pointed out that as regards the territorial issue, they will not particularly refer to maps and names, but some criteria about the territorial adjustments, associated with the issue of properties, will be discussed. He said that the same goes for the issues of security and guarantees, underlining that the basic principle on which they both agree is that the security of one side cannot be imposed as a threat for the other.
The President said that if there is sufficient progress that allows for a meeting in New York or if the UNSG wants, after the General Assembly, to meet the two leaders, “this is not the end of the world or something that is a paradoxical”. He added that the progress and the course of the intensified talks have to be assessed first before such a meeting takes place.
President Anastasiades was also asked about the visit of the US Vice President Joe Biden ti Turkey, saying that the US official will discuss the bilateral relations, however the Cyprus issue will be on the agenda as Biden has maintained an interest on the matter the last 40 years.
He recalled that recently he had a phone conversation with the US Vice President and he pointed out to Biden what Ankara needs to take into account in order to achieve a solution that will be acceptable to both sides.
As regards a Conference that will take place in Athens on September 9 with the participation of the Mediterranean EU leaders, the President said that he looks forwards to a cooperation of the southern countries in order to develop policies and a more human approach which will be to the interest of all the Europeans.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide has expressed the point of view that the weeks ahead in the UN brokered Cyprus talks are crucial.
“After a brief summer recess, intensified Cyprus talks continue in a constructive spirit,” Eide posted on Twitter after the meeting on Tuesday.
“Crucial weeks ahead,” he added. “The next seven meetings will be particularly important and will determine the way the whole process can go ahead,” Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides has told CNA.
The objective between the two added.
He said that “no solution (of the Cyprus problem) could include the presence of foreign troops.”
He also denied that President Nicos Anastasiades would view in a positive light the possibility of Turkey guaranteeing the Turkish Cypriot component state.
Christodoulides was invited by CNA to comment on a report by Turkish daily Milliyet on a proposal by US official Victoria Nuland on the establishment of an international gendarmerie after a solution in which Greek and Turkish soldiers would be able to participate.
“No solution of the Cyprus problem could stipulate the presence of foreign troops in Cyprus or any intervention rights for any third country,” he stressed. is to increase common understanding sides or even achieve convergences, he