Cyprus Mail

Swiss talks provide ‘crash test’ for Turkish Cypriot intentions (updated)

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci on Tuesday began talking property in preparation for critical discussions that will be held on Wednesday on territory in a day that the UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide described as productive.

Eide posted a photo on twitter of the UN team “wrapping up after a productive second day of Cyprus talks at Mont- Pelerin.”

On day two of their negotiations in Mont Pelerin Switzerland, the leaders met from 9am until 1pm and from 5.30pm to 8pm.

According to the Cyprus News Agency, they had a good first discussion during the morning meeting ahead of the thorny talks on territory, which Greek Cypriot sources said would be a ‘crash test’ as to the intentions of the Turkish side.

The outcome of the week-long negotiations is likely to determine whether the talks continue into the final stretch of discussing security and guarantees at a five-party meeting. The Turkish side also wants minimal territorial adjustments, which is contrary to the Greek Cypriot side’s red line on the return of Morphou.

There are also fears at home that Anastasiades will be bamboozled into agreeing to developments that could prove detrimental to Greek Cypriot positions such as linking territory with guarantees. Akinci wants a date to be fixed for the multi-party meeting during the Swiss talks.

Discussions on territory are expected to continue into Thursday, according to CNA sources who reportedly said it would be important to agree on the criteria, which should be then laid out on a map. The Greek Cypriot side would remain adamant that territory would not be linked to security or guarantees, it added.

Chief negotiators for the respective sides, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami, also met separately from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday to discuss issues concerning property and the issue of participation in decision making at the federal level.

During their first meeting on Monday, which was kicked off by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the leaders focused on three issues in four of the chapters where there are still gaps, CNA said.

According to the agency, there was some progress on these issues, specifically related to the responsibilities for the financial management of the federal government. However, this was referred to the technocrats for further work.

After Tuesday night’s dinner, the leaders and their teams were expected to tune in to the US elections on TV, according to CNA.

Ban on Monday urged the two leaders to “make the most of the moment” in Switzerland, saying they had reached a critical juncture in their talks.

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