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If Turkish side does not consider Greek Cypriot concerns, Geneva could flop, Anastasiades warns (Update 3: adds Eide)

If the Turkish side insists on positions that seek to control the new state of affairs and the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus, then the prospects for a Cyprus settlement do not exist, President Nicos Anastasiades warned on Wednesday.

He said if the other side understands how the EU and other modern states work then the Geneva conference on Cyprus could deliver results.
The comments came as the two sides continue the UN-brokered talks ahead of a new meeting to be held in Geneva from January 9-11, followed by a multilateral conference on January 12 in the presence of the guarantor powers, Greece, the UK and Turkey as well as other relevant parties as needed.

US Ambassador in Nicosia Kathleen Doherty told Greek Americans in Washington that the US would also go to Geneva if the UN invited them.
Speaking during a meeting at the state department, Doherty appeared encouraged by the progress achieved in the negotiations between Anastasiades and Akinci. She also expressed the US support for the procedure and her country`s readiness to help.

But ahead of the crucial talks in Switzerland, the two sides appeared to be digging in their heels somewhat.

“If the other side shows the appropriate intention to achieve a solution, then you can be sure that wishes will come true,” Anastasiades said speaking during a Christmas lunch for presidential palace staff on Wednesday. He added however that “if the other side continues to act in a way that disregard the Greek Cypriot concerns, we will be in a difficult position to say that we could reach a solution.”

He made clear that as the Turkish Cypriot side sets issues considered as red lines, it should be aware that the Greek Cypriot side has concerns that should be addressed as well.

“And we, both communities, have every reason on the basis of Republic of Cyprus` capacity as an EU member-state to see how the EU works, to see how modern states work and not let fears of the past and sins of the past weigh upon us, to see how we create the conditions and prospects to live peacefully to create a modern state away from dependencies so that the new generations could hope for prosperity and prospect,” he added.

“If this is understood by our compatriots and by Turkey, I believe Geneva could deliver,” he said. “However if they insist on positions that seek to control the new state of affairs, the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus, then I regret to say the prospect which all look forward does not exist.”

Stressing that he did not wish to send pessimistic messages, Anastasiades added: “I hope we are going (to Geneva) with the same goal to reunify our country, to rid it from any dependencies or troops to enable us to live peacefully, as we did for centuries in the past.”

Earlier on Wednesday, during a visit to an army camp, Anastasides said it would be impossible to have a solution involving troops and guarantees, responding to statements made by Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

“Finding a solution involving troops and guarantees would be impossible,” Anastasiades said, when asked to respond to recent comments made by Akinci.

Anastasiades declined to comment on whether any bridging proposals would be feasible.

“I have said what I ought to based on what is happening these days. I think we should leave things as they are.”

The president reiterated that what everyone was interested in was finding a solution based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation, that met people’s concerns and expectations.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Akinci suggested keeping the current system of guarantees for 15 years after a settlement to see how things worked out.

If all went well, then the issue could be reviewed, the Turkish Cypriot leader said.

Under a 1960s treaty, Cyprus was guaranteed by Turkey, Britain, and Greece. The treaty was used by Turkey to invade the island in July 1974.

“We are determined and ready for the dialogue,” Anastasiades said. “But we are not willing to accept any solution nor to watch intransigent and unacceptable positions for an EU member state. Outdated perceptions, institutions or measures taken in the past have no place in a well-organised member state of the EU”.

UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide, met separately on Wednesday evening with the two leaders, ahead of their meeting today, the last before Christmas and second last before Geneva.

Eide said that both sides were making intensive efforts to overcome differences before the Geneva talks and that today they would discuss what has been done since December 1 when they met for the first time following the deadlock reached in Swiss talks last month.

Eide said he is to visit Athens and Ankara possibly before the meetings in Geneva but that no meeting has been scheduled between the leaders of Greece and Turkey as yet.

He said that as regards who would be invited at the multi-party meeting, Eide at the moment it would be the guarantor powers and the EU.

Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said the Greek Cypriot side would wait and see who would be invited by the UN. The the permanent members of the UN Security Council had expressed interest in participating, he said.

“We believe that at this critical phase we are in, both the EU and the Security Council could add value to the effort for a successful result. Thus, if all interested parties approach the Geneva meeting through the same scope, reaching a very successful result, there is no reason for the non-presence either of the EU or the five permanent members of the UN Security Council,” Christodoulides said.

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