Party leaders will meet with President Nicos Anastasiades on Thursday ahead of Anastasiades’ meeting next week with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said on Wednesday that Anastasiades wants to discuss the upcoming meeting with Akinci and hear their opinion.
“We are at a critical juncture,” Prodromou said. He added that at next Monday’s dinner, Anastasiades will express the willingness of the Greek Cypriot side to resume the talks from where they left off.
Prodromou reiterated however, the government’s position that there could not be negotiations as long Turkey’s illegal actions in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone persist.
“We are currently waiting for the face-to-face consultation between the two leaders. We hope that there will be political will on the part of the Turkish Cypriot side to start the negotiations,” Prodromou said.
The two leaders agreed to hold an informal meeting on April 16, which will be hosted by Elizabeth Spehar, deputy special adviser to the UN Secretary-General. It will take place at the chief of mission’s residence in the buffer zone at 7pm.
Prodromou also said that the work of the bicommunal technical committees continues, and that ‘remarkable progress’ has been achieved in some of them.
Speaking after a meeting Anastasiades held with the Greek Cypriot heads of the technical committees on Wednesday, Prodromou said that these groups have continued their operations.
The committees, Prodromou said, are part of the procedure to resolve the Cyprus problem at a community level.
“They have nothing to do with state structures,” Prodromou said.
But the head of the bicommunal committee on culture, Androulla Vassiliou, said that meetings after the collapse of the talks last summer had been very limited.
“We had two meetings but no decisions were taken for future events because all of us were waiting to see what would happen,” Vassiliou said.
She added that her committee was awaiting the outcome of the leaders’ dinner to decide whether to schedule further meetings.
She added that this was the first ever such meeting of all of the heads of the technical committees and said that they informed the president of the problems they face: lack of coordination between ministries concerning proposed projects and lack of funds.
Vassiliou said that they all face coordination problems between ministries concerning their proposals on projects.
“One ministry might say yes, the other might say it does not agree,” she said.
To address this problem, she said, it was decided at the meeting that all their proposals will be sent to chief negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis who will contact ministries concerned and hear their opinion.
“The second issue is lack of resources,” Vassiliou said. “They tell us to cooperate with NGOs for the organisation of cultural events. But these NGOs come to us, they want money, we too need money to organise anything, but there is no funding for this.”
Vassiliou said the same problems were faced by the committee on environment, on gender equality and others. She said that Anastasiades promised to speak to the finance minister about the possibility of securing funds for the committees.