UN Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide, will host a dinner for the two leaders, President Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akıncı, on Sunday April 2, the UN announced on Monday.
The dinner will be held at the Ledra Palace Hotel within the UN buffer zone in Nicosia, a brief statement said. A round of consultations are to take place before Sunday’s dinner as Eide is expected to return to the island mid-week, CNA said.
Eide, who will host the dinner has already been in touch with both leaders and discussed with them “new ways of moving forward”, according to diplomatic sources. Anastasiades will be in Malta on March 29 and 30.
The UN has been trying to re-start stalled negotiations for several weeks since the leaders reached an impasse in the talks over a vote by parliament that would allow schools to commemorate a 1950 Greek Cypriot plebiscite for Enosis, or union with Greece.
Akinci walked away from the talks in mid-February saying he would not return until the vote had been voided, which Anastasiades said he could not force parliament to do.
Ruling Disy’s subsequent proposal for a legislative amendment to shift decision-making power on school celebrations from parliament to the education ministry was approved by the House education committee last Wednesday and is to be tabled to the plenum on Friday with the backing of Akel.
Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu on Monday said talks could only resume when the House decision was completely overturned.
In a written statement, he said Akinci had only allowed the dinner to go ahead because the House education committee appeared to be trying to “correct the previous wrong decision” and that it was the “necessary move” to clear the path for a social meeting between the two leaders.
However, the resumption of actual negotiations could only happen if the House vote was completely overturned and the Disy proposal is passed on Friday, Burcu said.
Whether or not the leaders will agree on Sunday night to resume the talks and when, remains open as the Greek Cypriot side believes the Enosis fuss was a pretext to hold out in negotiations until after the constitutional referendum in Turkey on April 16, Easter Sunday. Also, according to Eide, the relationship between Anastasiades and Akinci has been damaged by the whole affair.
Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu was quoted on Monday as saying that the Greek Cypriot side insulted the Turkish Cypriot people and Anastasiades should apologise.
Although Akinci had given signals that he may be ready to return to the negotiating table, if he was able to “stomach all of these insults and can accept the so-called rectification of the Enosis decision then I want to let him know that he does not have the right to make the Turkish Cypriot people live through this ridiculousness”.