Reunification talks restart on Tuesday following the summer break with a meeting between the leaders of the two communities.
President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are expected to discuss the thorny property issue, focusing mainly on the criteria.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said property was expected to dominate the talks in the coming meetings since it was an important issue, linked to other aspects of the Cyprus problem such as territory, the Turkish settlers, and economy.
In their last meeting at the end of July, Anastasiades and Akinci agreed that the rights of all property owners, and current users, would be respected under a settlement, and that a property commission would be created to decide on return, exchange or compensation.
Both leaders have received a lot of flak over the deal, Akinci because of how Turkish Cypriots living in Greek Cypriot properties would be affected, and Anastasiades, who is being accused of giving up the rights of Greek Cypriots by “equating owners with usurpers”.
Christodoulides dismissed criticism, making it clear that the commission would operate inside a strict framework agreed by the two sides.
“It will enforce very specific terms of reference, which we are discussion at the moment,” he told the state broadcaster.
The two sides would have to agree on the categories and the criteria that would be used for those applying to the commission.
“The aim of the criteria is to serve this basic principle that was agreed … the individual right to property,” he said.
“This is what the criteria will serve and we hope they will be agreed in the immediate future”
United Nations Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide will hold meetings with the two sides’ negotiators on ahead of the leaders meeting on Tuesday.