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Cyprus Talks

Time too short to agree terms of reference by year’s end, Greek minister says

Greece’s Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos

There is not enough time for laying down the terms of reference for new Cyprus talks by the end of December, Greece’s Alternate Foreign Minister Giorgos Katrougalos has said.

The UN chief has given two leaders until the end of the year to come up with the terms of reference for a new round of talks before he will invite them back to the negotiating table. His envoy Jane Holl Lute will be in Cyprus at the end of the coming week for talks with President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

In an interview with ‘Greek News ahead of his visit to the United States, Katrougalos said it would be beneficial if the parties engaged in informal contacts to better prepare the whole effort.
He will be in New York on Wednesday and will meet Lute prior to her arrival in Cyprus.

During her last visit to Cyprus at the end of October, Lute had asked the leaders to agree on terms of reference that would constitute the consensus starting point for a possible negotiated conclusion to the Cyprus issue.
The terms of reference, Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou had said, will relate to the negotiations, both the procedure and what will be in the negotiations.
Asked if he considers it realistic to reach an agreement by the end of the year on the terms of reference, Katrougalos said: “We want the new negotiations to be prepared well, to stand good chances of success. We will do our utmost to this end; however, I don’t think there is enough time for laying down the terms of reference by the end of December.”
Katrougalos said it would be beneficial if the parties engaged in informal contacts to better prepare the whole effort.
He also referred to a meeting soon between the Greek Prime Minister and the Turkish president during which the Cyprus issue would likely be discussed.
Asked to comment on talks about guarantees in Cyprus through Nato and whether the Greek government would accept it, Katrougalos said: “Our long-standing position on the need to abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and on the withdrawal of the occupation forces remains unchanged”.
This position was promoted with clarity at Crans-Montana, he added, and will be continued. “Any security structure in a reunified Cyprus must be based on a Resolution of the United Nations Security Council, and it clearly requires an active role of the international organisation; and the issues pertaining to the relationship between the Republic of Cyprus and Nato fall in the exclusive remit of the national political scene of Cyprus”.

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