President Nicos Anastasiades said on Friday he will meet next week with the Special Representative of UN Secretary General in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar to assess the prospects for the resumption of the settlement talks.
Anastasiades, who is reportedly to contact Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci next week in a bid to resume stalled reunification talks, said that during his meeting with Spehar, they will ‘explore’ whether there are prospects that ‘could give hope for a dialogue on the correct basis, on what had been agreed’.
“I will do my utmost, whatever is possible to see whether the prospects are there,” he said.
His next move on the settlement talks will depend, he said, on the basis of public statements and prerequisites set out and on the stances of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey.
He also urged Turkish Cypriots to realise ‘that they also need to recognise the anxiety and expectations and concerns of the victims of the invasion’.
On when he is to convene the National Council, he said, this would happen ‘as long as there are some developments, before any meeting (with Akinci)’.
According to daily Politis, Anastasiades plans on seeking a meeting with Akinci towards the end of next week. Media reports in the north said Akinci will agree to a meeting with Anastasiades
Government spokesman Nicos Christodouldies said on Friday the president will ‘engage in certain actions’ after meeting party chiefs. He said the meeting will take place soon but did not disclose what the actions would be.
Turkish Cypriot daily Detay, said that despite the hardline rhetoric used by the Turkish side on the Cyprus problem, Akinci will accept an invitation from Anastasiades.
It also said it was highly probable that the two leaders would be having dinner together.
The UN, the daily said, is not expected to mediate for a meeting at this stage, as the aim will be to exchange views on how to proceed.
Sources cited by Politis said it will take time for the two leaders to find common ground due to lack of trust, but also because thorough preparation is necessary before a new conference on Cyprus is convened.
Finding common ground could be difficult however. Greek Cypriots want things to pick up where they left off, while the Turkish Cypriot side has been calling for a new approach.
In an interview with the Athens News Agency, Anastasiades said he is determined to continue the dialogue as soon as possible, ‘at least concerning the internal aspects’.
Anastasiades said he hoped he would not be faced with a similar attitude during his meeting with Akinci as the one exhibited by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who said last week that new negotiations based on the same framework would be doomed.
If it was up to the Greek Cypriot side he said, ‘we would not have reached the unfortunate results’ of the settlement talks last year in Switzerland.
If Turkey’s positions are not known beforehand and if they are not in line with the parameters of the UN Secretary-General, a new conference on Cyprus ‘will again be led to failure’.
Anastasiades stated on several occasions that the problem lies in the Turkish and Turkish Cypriot negotiating side’s refusal to compromise on the issue of Turkey’s right to intervene, and on the presence of Turkish troops on the island.
Akinci has said that he is not thinking of appointing a new negotiator at the moment, as he does not want for negotiations to drag on in the same way for another 50 years. He called for a results-oriented procedure and not an open-ended one.
Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General Farhan Haq, said on Friday that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres continues to see what influence the UN can have to bring the Cyprus talks forward.
“Guterres continues to be advised, including from Elizabeth Spehar who is our senior official currently dealing with the Cyprus file about all the events, and he continues to see what influence we can have to bring the talks forward,” he said.