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‘No joint declaration, no leaders’ meeting’

By Stefanos Evripidou 

IF THERE is no agreement on a joint statement to launch a new round of peace talks there will be no meeting of the two leaders, said deputy government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos yesterday.

Asked to comment on Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s comment that the two leaders would likely meet on November 4, Papadopoulos referred to the UN’s denial that a date had been set.

The spokesman said one interpretation of why the Turkish side was claiming a date had been set when it clearly hadn’t was because they are trying to shift the pressure on them for an agreement to the Greek Cypriots.

“We don’t play such games. We mean what we say. We want to engage in a dialogue with real prospects to resolve the Cyprus problem and not end up having more of the same. For this reason, there will be no meeting of the President with Mr Dervis Eroglu if an agreement is not reached on a joint declaration for when they meet,” said Papadopoulos.

The jointly agreed text should act as a roadmap for the procedure of the talks, while setting out the basis of the talks.

According to the spokesman, the two sides currently disagree on both what the basis of the talks should be and the procedure, hence the delays in agreeing on a joint text.

Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu has made it clear that he is ready to meet with President Nicos Anastasiades even without agreement on a joint declaration.

Speaking after a meeting with Davutoglu, Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Ozdil Nami said the aim was to wrap up the talks in March 2014.

Meanwhile, Anastasiades travels to Athens today for talks with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and President Karolos Papoulias. He will be accompanied by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, government spokesman Christos Stylianides, and head of the president’s diplomatic office, Nicos Christodoulides.

During his meeting with Samaras, the two are expected to talk about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and the results of their recent visits to the White House.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is also in the Greek capital for meetings with the Greek leadership. He meets Samaras today to discuss matters of bilateral concern and issues regarding the future of the Alliance.

The Cypriot delegation returns this evening.

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