President Nicos Anastasiades said on Monday that after the crisis in Mont Pelerin, he chose to resume dialogue in an attempt to reach a Cyprus settlement, instead of accepting deadlock with unforeseeable results.
“The dilemma was whether to leave after the crisis created at Mont Pelerin, leading to a dead end with an unpredictable fait accompli, or to resume dialogue without reducing the positions we claim, and while bearing in mind the worries and concerns of Greek Cypriots,” he said.
Anastasiades, who was speaking at a Disy event, said he preferred to enter into dialogue, knowing what he had to defend and what to claim.
His remarks came after a day which saw the Greek and Turkish Cypriot negotiators agree to meet three times a week as part of the renewed round of reunification negotiations and UN Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide visit Ankara to see the Turkish foreign minister.
Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami will meet three times a week – Monday, Wednesday, Friday – in a bid to achieve further progress on all outstanding issues, the Cyprus News Agency said. The leaders will intervene when necessary to fill in the blanks.
In a tweet after seeing Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu Eide described it as a “forward-looking discussion”.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, meanwhile, left on Monday for Brussels to discuss developments in the Cyprus issue with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European parliament president, Martin Schulz.
Speaking before he left, Akinci again made reference to the five-party conference saying a date had been set, the aim now being to reach an agreement.
Akinci wished for the Greek Cypriot side to stand firm, saying that if an agreement was achieved in Geneva, the ‘Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ would take its place as an equal state, in international law and the European Union.
In an interview, published in Kathimerini on Sunday, Eide expressed the belief that the two leaders would agree on a map on territorial adjustments, when they meet in Geneva on January 9. If all went well, he said, the maps would be submitted by the two sides on January 11, while the guarantor powers would join the Geneva talks the next day to discuss security and guarantees.
Eide also made clear that the international conference in Geneva would involve five parties – the two sides and the three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey and Britain. The Greek Cypriot side had been talking of a multi-party conference, but it seems unlikely any other party would join the conference.
Before the five-party conference, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would also meet, Eide told Kathimerini.
The Norwegian also touched on the issue of security, saying that foreign troops would withdraw from the island if there was a settlement but this would take place over a period of time that would be agreed at the multi-party conference.
But in a sign that reaching a deal could stumble in Turkey itself, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in a speech to the Turkish national assembly said: “Cyprus should not slip through our hands.”
He said that as the horse-trading continued the territory had dropped to 29 per cent
“Why has it fallen to 29 per cent? The horse-trading is secret. We must protect Cyprus both politically and from a strategic point of view.”
Kilicdaroglu said Turkey had paid a price for Cyprus and while it should be strengthening sovereignty it had begun to make concessions. “That’s not right,” he said.
Anastasiades and Akinci agreed last Thursday to immediately resume intensified talks leading to a crucial conference involving guarantor powers scheduled for January 12.
Ahead of the conference, the leaders will meet in Geneva on January 9, 10 and 11.
On January 11, they will present maps on the territorial aspect of the solution.
The agreement was struck during a dinner in Nicosia, the first meeting between the two men following the breakdown of talks in Switzerland on November 22.
The agreement between the two leaders is to discuss all six chapters by January 12.