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Anastasiades: failed conferences would sound death knell for the talks

A three-party meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader and the UN Secretary-General would only take place if progress was achieved in the reunification talks by September 14, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Wednesday.

But a multilateral conference, including guarantor powers Greece, Turkey, and the UK, will not take place “if I don’t feel there is progress that would allow such a meeting,” Anastasiades said after his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

The leaders have four more meetings scheduled before issuing a joint statement on September 14 on progress made in bridging outstanding gaps and in their discussions on guarantees. Akinci wants a three-party meeting with Ban Ki-moon in New York later next month followed by a five-party meeting with the guarantors as they will all be in the US for the UN General Assembly. But Anastasiades has not committed to any such meetings.

“Failed conferences that won’t lead anywhere would only serve as the tombstone of the negotiations and this has been understood by Mr Akinci and (UN Special Adviser (Espen Barth) Mr Eide,” Anastasiades said.

The president also took a shot at hardline parties, which claim that they, and the public, have been left in the dark over the talks.

Anastasiades said that since July 30, he had informed parties that they could study the Greek Cypriot side’s proposals.

“I want to say that out of the six protesting parties, only two opted to peruse the documents,” he said.

Anastasiades added that from Wednesday, parties could also examine the minutes of the ongoing meetings, so that they could be fully informed about what is going on during the talks, provided that they observed the confidentiality of the documents.

The president said it was the people who had the final say and they would not be rushed into making a decision on a plan that would be presented to them unexpectedly.

“They will be fully informed provided that I will put the plan before the people after I am satisfied that it meets everything we all decided unanimously,” Anastasiades said.

He said the people would be informed if and when a deal was on the cards; a deal that satisfied the expectations of both communities.

“The people will be fully informed because at the end of the day it’s the people who will decide, not the parties, nor the president,” he added. “That is why I want to ask the party leaderships to count the cost they may inflict during the dialogue with unfounded claims.”

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