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Cyprus Talks

Leaders gear up ahead of meeting with Ban, talks facing critical developments, says Anastasiades (Update 2)

A preparatory meeting was held in New York on Saturday ahead of what is expected to be a crucial meeting on Sunday morning New York time between the two Cypriot leaders and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

President Nicos Anastasiades met with UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide and UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar on Saturday ahead of the meeting to prepare for the encounter with Ban, which is expected to happen at 10.45am New York time.

CNA cited diplomatic sources on Saturday saying it would begin with Ban putting forward his thoughts after which there would be an exchange of views with Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. The meeting is expected to last 45 minutes and will be followed by a public statement from the UNSG with the two leaders by his side.

According to CNA the statement is expected to say that the leaders will continue their intensive negotiations on all chapter with a view to reaching a solution in 2016.

The text was expected to be finalised after a meeting between Ban and Akinci on Saturday evening, New York time.

The sources told CNA that the meeting with Spehar and Eide had gone well and that Anastasiades had requested some clarifications from Eide related to statements he made to Turkish journalists after a meeting with Akinci on Friday.

Eide had said that failure to make use of the current momentum for a solution to the Cyprus problem by either side would see them being held accountable as to the reasons, which caused some uproar on the Greek Cypriot side among the political parties.

Earlier, during a speech at a gathering of the diaspora in the US, Anastasiades said Greek Cypriots could not accept guarantees and foreign armies in Cyprus, and if such pending issues could not be addressed it would not be possible to reach a solution.

“We are facing critical developments and significant dilemmas,” he said at the formal dinner on Friday night hosted by the Federation of Cypriot American Organisations.

Friday’s dinner was also attended by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, his Cypriot counterpart Ioannis Kasoulides, Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides and other top officials from Cyprus and Greece.

Anastasiades briefed participants on the course of the talks repeating what he said at the UN General Assembly on Thursday and what he would say to Ban on Sunday, which was that in addition to progress there was also stagnation in the negotiations.

“There are problems that if not resolved means it might not be possible to arrive at an acceptable solution, which meets the concerns of the Greek Cypriots,” he said. “What we seek is to achieve a solution which respects the rights of all Cypriots in a way that does not create winners or losers.”

He said everyone needed to understand that the Turkish Cypriot community would have security through the new structures of the new state that will evolve from a solution.
A bizonal federation would create the conditions for each community to have an administration, but the central state would have power that could not be ignored.

“So I do not see why some should insist that Turkey continue to maintain even a minimum number of troops and how it should have guarantee rights,” he said.

“In a modern European state it cannot be expected that European citizens would want others to guarantee them. It must be understood by all those involved and wanting to help solve the Cyprus problem, that the Cyprus issue should not be exploited to accommodate wider interests.”

Kotzias in a brief address, also said that a solution could not include guarantees and foreign troops. “We must work for a just solution with all human rights respected and where Cyprus will be an independent, sovereign country with no foreign guarantees and occupation armies,” he said.


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