By Elias Hazou
THE government denied on Wednesday that it has been sounded out to engage in reunification talks at another venue outside Cyprus.
“With regard to the public dialogue as a result of the President having been invited to attend Davos, the government wishes to clarify that it has received no proposal to hold negotiations, or for the staging of any conference pertaining to the issue of guarantees, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum, to be held next month in Switzerland,” spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said in a statement.
“After all, the President has himself clarified that, at this juncture in the ongoing dialogue, something like this would be premature and not in the least helpful,” he added.
“Any ideas or thoughts of the like which – I repeat – the government has not been appraised of, would only serve to create problems for the ongoing [peace] talks.”
“And because,” the statement went on, “our side wishes more than anyone else for the current negotiation process to yield positive results, we reiterate our commitment to the talks and express our resolve to not consent to such actions which essentially would hamper the process underway.”
The administration was forced to make the statement after speculation in the media that UN special envoy to Cyprus Espen Barth Eide plans to bring the five parties – Greek and Turkish Cypriots, and guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain – together unofficially at the Davos forum.
President Nicos Anastasiades will be attending the confab, as will Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
Confirming this on Wednesday, Akinci said he had received the invitation back in September and had responded that same month. He would be attending the Davos conference on January 20 to 23, he added.
“There was nothing secret about it. The invitation was also extended to Mr Anastasiades, but it has nothing to do with transferring [to another venue] the Cyprus talks or holding a five-way conference in Davos. No decision has been taken on this matter,” Akinci said.
“I may be meeting with Mr Anastasiades there, if he would like to. Besides, Mr Eide will be there, in an official capacity [as a UN official]. I also understand that [Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet] Davutoglu will be attending. I do not know yet who will be attending from Greece, but certainly a senior ranking official,” he noted.
Akinci was speaking to reporters in the north shortly after meeting with Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.
Calling his discussion with Asselborn “productive,” the Turkish Cypriot leader said he conveyed his community’s thoughts and views on the Cyprus problem and on the relationship between the two communities in the future.
Asselborn has extended an invitation to him to visit Luxembourg, he added.
A day earlier, Luxembourg’s top diplomat had held talks in Nicosia with President Anastasiades and Foreign minister Ioannis Kasoulides.
In statements, Asselborn expressed the hope that negotiations would soon lead to a comprehensive settlement.