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Akinci procrastinating over meeting with Anastasiades – source (updated)

Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci

The Greek Cypriot side on Tuesday blamed the delay in arranging a social meeting between the leaders of the two communities on Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Citing an unnamed diplomatic source, the Cyprus News Agency said there were no developments in sight despite President Nicos Anastasiades repeatedly voicing his readiness to meet Akinci socially to talk about the future direction of the stalled negotiations.

According to CNA, Akinci agrees in principle to have a meeting, but he doesn’t want to do so at this moment.

The Turkish Cypriot leader “says yes, but in due course,” the source said.

The Greek Cypriot side blames Akinci’s procrastination on the upcoming EU-Turkey summit in Varna, Bulgaria, Ankara’s moves concerning hydrocarbon exploration, and other, unspecified, factors.

All these contribute towards Akinci not seeing any added value in such a meeting, the source said.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said they were waiting for Akinci’s response about having a  preliminary meeting.

“There must be a face-to-face meeting so that certain things are clarified,” he said.

Regarding the Varna summit, and suggestions that Nicosia would try to raise obstacles to pressure Turkey into stopping the disruption of Cyprus’ energy programme, Prodromou said the aim was not to hinder Ankara’s relations with the EU.

European Council President Donald Tusk said in February that the summit was conditional on Ankara’s termination of actions in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Last month, Turkish warships prevented Italian energy company ENI from drilling in a field inside block 6 of the Republic’s EEZ.

Turkey argues it is safeguarding the rights of Turkish Cypriots, but it also has its own claims inside Cyprus’ EEZ.

Prodromou said Cyprus wants to “ensure that the conditions set by the EU … will be applied.”

The final decisions on the summit will be taken at the European Council on March 22, he said.

“Our objective is to find ways … to end the provocations and efforts to violate the republic’s sovereign rights,” Prodromou added.



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