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Cyprus Cyprus Talks

Kasoulides remains ‘realistic’ about chances for solution (Updated)

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides said on Thursday he remained ‘realistic’ about the chances for a Cyprus settlement during the current peace talks, acknowledging difficulties but also opportunities for clinching a deal before the year is out.

The chief diplomat was speaking to the public broadcaster a day after meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

He confirmed that the UN chief had conveyed to him his desire to meet with the leaders of the two communities in Cyprus.

But Kasoulides denied reports that Ban had proposed chairing an international conference of leaders representing the countries involved in the Cyprus issue.

A meeting between Ban and the two leaders was welcome, he added, but at a time to be designated by the leaders themselves.

More significantly, the timing of such a meeting was crucial, as it had to culminate in success and produce a tangible outcome.

Asked when such a tete-a-tete might take place, Kasoulides said it would depend on the convergences reached between the two leaders in the weeks and months to come.

“What must not happen is a repeat of Greentree,” he added, alluding to what is widely regarded as a January 2012 failed summit outside New York attended by Ban, President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

Responding to another question, the foreign minister acknowledged that at the moment President Anastasiades does not have in hand a document outlining the convergences, divergences and outright differences with the Turkish Cypriot side.

“We too are seeking to move forward, to continue negotiations with goodwill, in a bid to establish further convergences.

“I think it [an agreement] is neither unfeasible nor as difficult as it may seem, so long as we understand that the elements we are striving for will lead us to something that was described in the leaders’ joint declaration of February 2014.”

The issue was the interpretation of that joint declaration.

“Mr. Akinci, from what I understand, attempted to create a diversion, by saying that our positions leaned more toward a single state rather than a federal state.

“You know, I found this to be somewhat childish, because we have determined that certain points demands raised [by the Turkish Cypriot side] hark to a confederation, but then the other person comes along and claims that you are seeking a single state.”

Asked what Akinci’s confederation-leaning views pertain to, Kasoulides cited governance.

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