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Parties pessimistic ahead of National Council meeting

File photo: National Council

Political leaders are expected to decide on Sunday whether they will accompany President Nicos Anastasiades to Switzerland next month where he is to discuss the chapter of territorial adjustment with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

The president had said earlier in the week that it would be decided on Sunday at the National Council meeting whether political leaders would accompany him to Mont Pelerin, the Swiss resort the talks are taking place between November 7 and 11. Anastasiades and Akinci chose to hold the talks abroad because of the particular sensitivity of the chapter for both sides.

Prior to the National Council meeting, opposition parties expressed hope that the president would reveal more information as to what has been agreed at the negotiations so far.

The head of the Solidarity Movement Eleni Theocharous said that “the secret diplomacy” of Anastasiades continues and expressed hope that he would provide political leaders with “substantial” information both as regards convergences reached by the two sides, as well as the strategy he intends to adopt in Switzerland.

She added that the statements of the EU’s High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Federica Mogherini on Friday that the best guarantee was being an EU member, were not convincing as the EU has yet to succeed in safeguarding its own external borders.

“It is now clear that everything that is happening was already agreed upon in New York and simply through the so-called intensive talks some details were set,” Theocharous said in an announcement. She added that it all pointed to the fact that the settlement agreement would  not lead to a functional solution and that all Turkish terms had been accepted.

Edek said in an announcement that it would not support a solution that provided for the presence of Turkish soldiers post-settlement. It added that the president’s tactics facilitated Turkey in achieving its objectives.

The Greens expressed concerns that Turkish Cypriots would attempt to exchange the return of  Morphou under Greek Cypriot rule with concessions on guarantees. The party called on President Anastasiades to explain to them at the National Council meeting why he believes their concerns are “over the top” instead of “giving them reassurances as usual”.

Meanwhile UN Special adviser Espen Barth Eide announced on Friday that the UNSG Ban Ki-moon himself, would open the intensive week of negotiations between the two leaders in Switzerland.

“The meeting will concentrate on the chapter of territory, as well as all other outstanding issues interdependently,” Eide had said. The two leaders have expressed hope that the meeting in Switzerland would pave the way for the last phase of the talks, in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost to reach a settlement this year.

The UNSG’s presence in Mont Pelerin, “is a sign of his interest to set the tone for the work they would be doing during the rest of the time,” his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said.

Dujarric said that Ban would be there just for the opening but that “obviously if he needs to participate again, he is always available and always would do whatever he can to move the process forward”. He added that Ban “is extremely pleased” with the work that Eide has been doing.

“He (the UNSG) has been asked by Mr Eide to be there at the opening to show his personal involvement, to show his personal interest in moving the issues forward. So I think it’s a sign of, not only of the interest of the Secretary-General, but a sign of Mr. Eide that the presence of the Secretary-General at the opening was very important in order to set the tone and hopefully a positive tone for the work they would be doing during the rest of time,” Dujarric said.

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