UN SPECIAL Adviser Alexander Downer said on Friday the two sides were attempting to “bridge a gap” before any date for the start of new talks could be announced.
After a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades, Downer said negotiators for the two communities would continue to meet to prepare the way. He would also be hosting another dinner for the two representatives on Monday night on top of two meetings, one the same day and one on Wednesday.
“We will obviously discuss how they are getting on in their discussions, but they’ve had several rounds in discussions already,” said Downer. Asked about the ‘gap’ mentioned already by the President in relation to the methodology being used in the preparations, Downer said: “There has been a gap….the task is to bridge that gap, and work will be done on that during the course of next week”.
The UN envoy said when the preparations for talks were completed, a date would be announced for the start of negotiations. “We want to ensure that negotiations are successful and more that, we want to… the two sides… want to ensure that negotiations are successful, so obviously appropriate preparation has to be done,” said Downer.
He said no particular date had been planned in October. “When it’s appropriate for the leaders to meet, the leaders will meet… when they feel comfortable that the circumstances are right for them to have a meeting,” Downer added.
Asked why the start of the talks was being held up, Downer declined to comment. He also confirmed that the issue of natural gas had not been discussed.