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Cyprus Talks

Leaders’ meeting postponed, sides should work together to restore affected area says Famagusta Initiative (Update 2)

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci resumed talks on Wednesday
The two leaders will discuss by September 14 all the chapters of the Cyprus problem

Tuesday’s meeting between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci has been postponed due to the fires.

It followed a request from Anastasiades who said he would be visiting the affected areas.

The president thanked Akinci and the United Nations for their understanding.

The leaders will meet on Thursday June 23 at 10am.

Akinci expressed his sadness over the loss of life and destruction.

“Apart from the great damage caused by the ongoing fires in Troodos area that I have been following very closely with deep sadness since the beginning, I have also learned about the tragic loss of the two firefighters,” he said. “On behalf of the Turkish Cypriot community and myself, I would like to convey heartfelt condolences to their families and loved ones, while sharing the grief of the Greek Cypriot community.”

Asked by reporters on Monday about an offer of help from the north, Anastasiades said Akinci had called him late on Sunday with the offer “given that it is our common country facing this problem”.

“I thanked him, of course, but realised that with the help from Israel, the UK authorities, and particularly from Greece, and with other aircraft, we did not think there was a need for further contributions. But in any case I want to thank him for the genuine interest to confront together the problems facing our common country,” Anastasiades said.

According to CNA, sources from the Turkish Cypriot ‘presidential palace’ said that Akinci felt that when fires occurred in the past both sides had not accepted help from each other but he felt there should be cooperation on such matters.

Turkish Cypriot organisation Initiative for Famagusta urged the two leaders to work together to restore the area affected by the blaze.

The organisation said it was important to set the restrictions imposed by the status quo aside and work together.

The Turkish Republican Party expressed sadness over the deaths of the firefighters while a United Cyprus spokesman described the situation as a “big tragedy.”

Another aspect raised in connection with the north was related to the areas where the aircraft refilled their tanks and buckets. Many people wondered why it had not been arranged for them to fly to the Turkish-controlled bay of Morphou, which was closer, instead of having to go all the way to Larnaca.

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said the aeroplanes taking part in the operation had to return to Larnaca or Paphos airports each time so that they could load flame retardant. At the same time, he added, helicopters filled their buckets from reservoirs located in the area of the fire and there was no reason to fly to Morphou.

UNSG Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide also offered his condolences for the loss of lives in the massive fires.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the UN, Eide said his thoughts are with all those affected.
“During these difficult times, the United Nations stands with the people of Cyprus.”


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