It is time for leadership, UNSG Special Envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, posted on his twitter account on Tuesday night after President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met for the first time in nearly two months.
Eide tweeted: “CyprusTalks resumed after 54 days. @AnastasiadesCY & @MustafaAkinci_1 met today, negotiators meettomorrow. Time for leadership.”
The two leaders met after a 54-day break, when Akinci walked out of the talks, claiming that a House decision to commemorate in schools a 1950 referendum advocating Enosis (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.
The two leaders set a total of four meetings for the next one and a half month, with analysts expecting the summer to be a make-or-break period for the talks.
Speaking at the Presidential Palace upon his return from the talks, Anastasiades 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.
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.
The negotiators of the two sides, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami, 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 list of 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 said UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide will not assume a different role in the current stage of negotiations. If both sides wish so, they will submit certain questions to Eide, in order to provide them with examples or opinions, he added.
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."
Asked finally if the issue of natural gas was raised during the 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".
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