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President off to Luxembourg, no new date yet for talks (Updated)

President Nicos Anastasiades will depart on Sunday for Luxembourg, where he will participate in the celebrations to mark 40 years of the European People’s Party (EPP), following an invitation by the President of the EPP Joseph Daul.

On the sidelines of the celebrations, Anastasiades will hold meetings with heads of state or government as well as with institutional leaders of the EU.

The president, who will be accompanied by the Deputy Government Spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos, will return to Cyprus on Tuesday May 31.

No new date has yet been fixed for the resumption of his talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the government spokesman told CyBC on Saturday.

Anastasiades cancelled his scheduled meeting with Akinci on Friday after the Turkish Cypriot leader turned up at an international event on Monday in Istanbul, and held a brief meeting with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that was arranged outside of the negotiations framework.

But, Christodoulides noted, the issue that arose following the contentious Ban-Akinci meeting “is being resolved”, following the explanations given by the UN Secretary General.

“The only thing scheduled right now is the two leaders’ presence in a bi-communal event on education,” the government spokesman said, adding that the president remains committed to resuming the talks, on condition of mutual respect and no efforts to undermine the process.

Christodoulides said that US Vice-President Joe Biden, with whom Anastasiades had a telephone conversation with on Friday for the second time in three days, “undertook certain initiatives to restore the status quo”, thus helping defuse the crisis that erupted following the Ban-Akinci meeting.

Meanwhile, the president will soon come to a final decision regarding the National Council, the government spokesman said.

The National Council, comprising top party officials and former presidents and serving as an advisory body to the president, has not been convened in months, when a classified letter, given to Ban by Anastasiades during a meeting and shared with political leaders in a council session, was leaked to the press hours later.

It was reported at the time that Anastasiades was considering options as radical as disbanding the body, but had settled for banning the removal of documents from the Presidential Palace by party officials and briefing party leaders on the Cyprus problem talks individually.

But these were temporary measures, and Christodoulides said Anastasiades will soon update parliamentary parties on his final decisions.

The president’s primary objective is the effective operation of the National Council, Christodoulides said.

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