Tsipras-Er­do­gan meet on cards

Re­ports say lead­ers will sit down be­tween De­cem­ber 4 and 6 to talk guar­an­tees and se­cu­rity on Cyprus

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras and Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan still plan to meet and dis­cuss the Cyprus dis­pute de­spite the break­down of peace talks late Mon­day be­tween Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and Turk­ish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci, ac­cord­ing to re­ports yes­ter­day. The meet­ing, slated for early next month, be­tween De­cem­ber 4 and 6 ac­cord­ing to some sources, will seek to find points of agree­ment that will al­low a re­sump­tion of ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Gov­ern­ment sources said yes­ter­day that Greek and Turk­ish of­fi­cials were en­gaged in talks to fi­nal­ize the meet­ing and that there was good will on both sides to en­sure it takes place.

The break­down of talks in the Swiss re­sort of Mont Pelerin and the re­turn of both Anas­tasi­ades and Ak­inci to Cyprus to con­sider the way for­ward put a damper on ex­pec­ta­tions, but Athens is said to re­main op­ti­mistic that there is still scope to kick-start the process.

A suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion to the talks in Mont Pelerin on Mon­day would have paved the way for a mul­ti­lat­eral sum­mit to val­i­date an agree­ment be­tween Greek and Turk­ish Cypri­ots.

Greece, how­ever, had set two pre- con­di­tions to agree to a fi­nal sum­mit – namely the prior agree­ment be­tween the two Cypriot lead­ers on the is­sues of ter­ri­tory and prop­erty, and an un­der­stand­ing be­tween Athens and Ankara that a fi­nal sum­mit will be held to val­i­date a plan that would re­solve out­stand­ing is­sues – the ques­tion of post-set­tle­ment se­cu­rity and third­party guar­an­tees.

Op­ti­mists be­lieve the meet­ing be­tween Tsipras and Er­do­gan could go some way to­ward over­com­ing some of the out­stand­ing is­sues, most im­por­tantly the sys­tem of guar­an­tees which Greece, along with the Greek Cypri­ots, wants to scrap, while Turkey in­sists on its preser­va­tion.

The UN-led meet­ings in Mont Pelerin were the sec­ond round of ne­go­ti­a­tions at the Swiss re­sort. The first round in early Novem­ber was held to tackle the con­tentious is­sue of ter­ri­to­rial ad­just­ments. Anas­tasi­ades and Ak­inci failed to strike a deal but hopes were high that the sec­ond round could come up with a map de­lin­eat­ing po­ten­tial bound­aries be­tween con­stituent Greek- and Turk­ish-Cypriot states un­der a fed­eral um­brella. But this failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize as there was dis­agree­ment over the num­ber of dis­placed Greek-Cypriot refugees who would re­turn to ar­eas that would come within the GreekCypriot ju­ris­dic­tion.

Anas­tasi­ades was push­ing for the re­turn of 90,000 while the Turk­ishCypriot del­e­ga­tion brought this num­ber down to 55,000-60,000. And even though there was said to be a con­sen­sus that the ju­ris­dic­tion of Turk­ish Cypri­ots would range be­tween 28.2 and 29.2 per­cent of the ter­ri­tory. The dif­fi­culty stemmed from fail­ure to agree over how many dis­placed peo­ple would come un­der Greek and Turk­ish ju­ris­dic­tion.

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