By George Psyllides
PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades made it clear to Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu on Monday that there must be proposals from both sides on all core issues of the Cyprus problem, as the two sides agreed to conclude the current phase of talks as soon as possible.
The proposals must then be discussed and convergences achieved before the ongoing reunification talks can move to the third phase.
Eroglu said the two sides disagreed on matters previously agreed with former president Demetris Christofias.
Unnamed sources cited by the Cyprus News Agency said that the meeting which lasted over three hours was “difficult”.
Anastasiades, they said, made it clear that there was no chance talks would enter the third phase if proposals on all aspects of all the core issues were not submitted reviewed and common ground was found.
The president said he was ready to submit proposals by August.
Anastasiades referred in particular to territory, noting that it constitutes one of the most important aspects for Greek Cypriots.
The same sources say that the greatest part of the meeting was spent discussing this as well as the EU`s role in the process.
The Turkish Cypriot side appeared negative on territory until, with the UN’s contribution, it was agreed to include in a statement read after the meeting by UN Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim, a phrase that states that the two leaders agreed “to submit and to continue submitting proposals on all core issues, as well as to conclude this phase as soon as possible”.
President Anastasiades also proposed to establish four new technical committees, namely, a committee on commerce and industry, a trade unions committee, a committee on reconstruction and resettlement and an EU committee.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said that he would rather that existing technical committees resume their work.
As regards the establishment of new ones, he said he would discuss the matter with his side before replying.
The sources said Greek Cypriot members of all technical committees, headed by Ambassador Andreas Pirishis, will be announced within the next few days.
The Turkish Cypriot side was negative on the creation of an EU technical committee, a matter which was discussed at length during the meeting, the sources said.
President Anastasiades is said to have explained that the leaders would not be bound by the technical committee, but rather that it would be helpful if they were aware of whether certain proposals were in line with the EU acquis communitaire.
Eroglu said the two sides had differences on issues where there was agreement before.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said Greek Cypriots have a different view as regards the election of the president, governance and division of power.
The Greek Cypriots, he said, want the president to always be Greek Cypriot and the vice president Turkish Cypriot.
It is understood that Eroglu was referring to the rotating presidency, which Christofias had tabled on condition that Turkish Cypriots also accepted cross-voting, which they did not.
The two leaders will meet again on June 23 and July 7.