By Jean Christou
CYPRUS WILL use its status as an EU member state, and will reach out to other countries involved in the peace talks to exert more influence on Turkey, President Nicos Anastasiades said yesterday.
Anastasiades was speaking after a 90-minute meeting with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras in Athens during a two-day visit to the Greek capital.
The focus of the visit is mainly the stalled Cyprus negotiations with Anastasiades briefing Samaras on recent developments. Although both made short statements after the meeting, neither accepted questions from the media.
Samaras limited himself to saying that not only was there no progress on the Cyprus talks, but there was now confirmation that serious differences existed between the two sides.
He referred to the refusal of the Turkish Cypriot side to accept the EU acquis, and its constant rejection of suggestions made by Anastasiades during the process when it comes to confidence building measures or even procedural issues.
In his brief statement, Anastasiades said: “We will achieve more from our presence in the EU in order to strengthen our positions, and we will reach out to other countries which are involved in the process and which can exert influence on Turkey.”
The talks process ground to a halt for the summer last Thursday after what was diplomatically termed a ”difficult” meeting by some, and all-out failure by others.
On Friday the government rubbished Turkish Cypriot reports that Anastasiades had banged his fists on the table, threw his glasses down and stormed out.
Alleged histrionics aside, the four-hour meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu did not end well, with the two sides failing to agree on the way forward.
Eroglu reportedly rejected three proposals by Anastasiades to document and lock down convergences between the two sides before entering phase three of the talks, the give-and-take process. He also reportedly refused to accept the so-called ‘Downer document’, which lists convergences reached between 2008 and 2012 under the Demetris Christofias government.
For now the talks are on hold. The next leader’s meeting has been set for September 2.
By Jean Christou