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Austria, Finland offer to host territory talks

The town of Morphou, which Greek Cypriots want back as part of the island's reunification

Austria and Finland have offered to host discussions on territory between the island’s Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Friday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the EU leaders summit in Brussels, the spokesman said Austria and Finland had offered to host talks on territory between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

The two sides seem to have agreed that negotiations on territory would be held abroad from November 7 to 11. Reports suggested the talks would take place in Geneva, Switzerland, but nothing official has been announced.

It was agreed to hold the talks abroad at the insistence of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, who cited the need to avoid leaks.

During his meetings at the summit, Anastasiades stressed the need to scrap the system of guarantees that accompanied the founding of the Republic.

Christodoulides said it appeared that Cyprus’ EU partners realised that guarantees by a third state had no place in 2016.

The spokesman added that it also appeared that Anastasiades’ proposal on security “provided all the answers, afforded all safeguards to tackle potential concerns.”

It is understood that Anastasiades has proposed having a multinational police force, or a UN force with a strengthened mandate, to preempt and suppress risks that could emerge.

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