By Jean Christou
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu will hold a working meeting on June 2.
This will be the third meeting of the two leaders since the Cyprus talks process resumed on February 11 this year. March 31 was their second meeting.
The Turkish Cypriot side has been pushing for more leaders’ meetings to hurry the process forward. The ground work on the negotiations is being done by the negotiators from the two sides, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Kudret Ozersay.
The negotiators met yesterday to continue discussions. Τhe property issue, the federal list of competencies, the federal executive and external relations were to be discussed. They will meet again on May 30.
They also agreed to hold the new leaders’ meeting on Monday June 2, the Cyprus News Agency said, quoting the government spokesman.
US Vice President Joe Biden is due on the island on Wednesday evening for talks on Thursday with the leaders on the Cyprus issue among other topics such as energy, and the situation in the Ukraine.
Last night at an exhibition to commemorate 50 years of UNFICYP on the island, Anastasiades expressed the gratitude of Cyprus to the UN and the troops from 32 countries, which have served here.
“The United Nations Force in Cyprus has played an invaluable role in the execution of its mission. Its presence is necessary until the day when a permanent solution that will reunite Cyprus and its people will be fully implemented,” Anastasiades said.
Referring to the current peace process, he said the immediate restoration of the fenced city of Famagusta – Varosha – to its lawful inhabitants under the administration of the United Nations, as provided in a number of resolutions of the United Nations, as well as other confidence-building measures that he had proposed, would give impetus to the talks.
This alone, he said, would help create a climate of mutual trust between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots “restoring hope, trust and faith of the people of Cyprus in view of solving the Cyprus problem”.
“I honestly believe that the time has come to give the negotiations – which have now entered a new phase – the major boost that only the implementation of confidence-building measures could give. That is why it is so important that the heads of the EU institutions, several European leaders, including German Chancellor Merkel, who I visited recently, and the Obama administration welcomed the proposal,” said Anastasiades.
Last Saturday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu ruled out the notion, saying for it to be even discussed, there would have to be something of equal value on the table. Reportedly Biden is to announce that the US would fund a masterplan study for Varosha.
The UNFICYP exhibition at Famagusta Gate, Anastasiades said “captures the presence of UNFICYP in Cyprus” and recognises the important tasks undertaken by the force over the past 50 years.
“I look forward to the day, in the not too distant future, where an exhibition in memory of UNFICYP will open in a peaceful and reunited Cyprus. In a country reunified where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will enjoy the benefits of a common and prosperous future, just as their ancestors did in the past. In a reunified and prosperous Cyprus, which former peacekeepers will visit to form new memories,” the president concluded.