The leaders of the two communities will be kicking off intensified reunification talks next week, most likely on October 4, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Thursday.
Responding to reporters’ questions, the spokesman said the two leaders have prior obligations for this coming Monday, so their first new meeting would probably be taking place on the day after.
On whether the leaders will be meeting daily over the course of two weeks in October – as agreed in New York – Christodoulides suggested three to four meetings a week.
The spokesman reiterated that President Nicos Anastasiades has no problem with UN special advisor Espen Barth Eide, and dismissed the notion that the Norwegian diplomat was biased.
He said that on occasion Eide has come up with ideas and proposals on the talks process that were beneficial to the Greek Cypriots, while at other times helpful to the Turkish Cypriots.
At any rate, Christodoulides added, the talks process was and continues to be “Cypriot owned.”
Eide has come under criticism from Greek Cypriot opposition parties for apparently working behind the scenes to expedite the talks process.
Nicosia is opposed to any timeframes.
But Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci came back on Thursday with fresh remarks, asserting anew that an unofficial timetable does exist.
Speaking to reporters in the north on his return from New York, Akinci was quoted as saying that the “the time for games is over”, adding that “saying you don’t want a timetable or a road map means that you don’t want a solution, you are not sincere” – alluding to the Greek Cypriot side.
Becoming more explicit, Akinci spoke of three ‘stages’ in the talks process before the end of the year. The intensified negotiations would start on Tuesday, October 4, focusing on the pending issues on the first four chapters of a settlement.
The second stage would be a Camp David-style meeting, tackling in detail the issue of territory and maps. It was preferable if this meeting were to take place somewhere abroad, he added.
Immediately after this, Akinci claimed, a five-way multilateral conference would be held to discuss security and guarantees.