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‘Special importance’ attached to meeting with Lute

Lute and Anastasiades at a previous meeting

President Nicos Anastasiades attributes ‘special importance’ to his scheduled meeting on Wednesday with a United Nations envoy, the government said on Tuesday.

The UN Secretary-General’s envoy Jane Holl Lute is to meet the island’s two leaders as part of a fact-finding mission.

Lute will be on the island at the request of UNSG Antonio Guterres to explore the willingness of the two sides to propose new ideas as part of an overall solution.

“The president is fully prepared for the meeting, and looks forward to a productive discussion on specific issues, including on issues of substance, which had led the previous effort to an unsuccessful outcome,”

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides told journalists.

He demurred on a question as to whether Anastasiades would be tabling specific proposals to the UN envoy, saying only that the media would be informed if he did.

The Cyprus peace process has been frozen since July 2017 when talks in Switzerland came to an impasse.

A recent report by the UN chief on the state of play in Cyprus, although not shutting the door on the peace talks, said “new ideas may additionally be needed in order for a fresh effort to bear fruit.”
Christodoulides meanwhile responded to the furore over the president’s suggestion about a ‘loose federation’ between the two communities as part of a comprehensive settlement.

He reiterated that Anastasiades had floated the idea only as “food for thought,” given the Turkish Cypriot side’s opposition to a strong central government in a reunified state.

But the foreign minister categorically denied that the Greek Cypriot side is toying with the notion of a two-state solution or a confederation.

“The government is in no way whatsoever flirting with any other form of settlement other than a bizonal, bicommunal federation.”

Christodoulides urged the opposition to avoid fuelling talk of a ‘loose federation’ as that could damage the efforts underway to restart reunification talks.

“Discussions about other forms of a solution can only provide a disservice to our efforts to end the illegal [Turkish] occupation,” he noted.

Speaking at an event in the north, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci also commented on the ‘loose federation’, saying he had discussed it last week at a meeting with Anastasiades. He said the ‘loose federation’ was about transferring more power away from central government.

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