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Greek Cypriot side focussing on terms of reference

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The Greek Cypriot side’s aim is to agree on terms of reference that would pave the way for the resumption of talks from where they left of in Switzerland in the summer of 2017, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said on Tuesday, as the two sides prepared to hold separate meetings with a UN envoy over the weekend.

“Considering the results of the last meeting between the two leaders on August 9 and the discussion they had … I think agreeing on terms of reference is possible,” the minister told state radio.

The two leaders, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, are scheduled to meet Jane Holl Lute on Sunday though Christodoulides did not rule out her seeing them again on Monday before her departure from Cyprus.

Anastasiades will then hold a national council meeting on Tuesday to discuss the meetings with Lute with the political parties, deputy government spokesman Klelia Vasiliou said.

Lute has been in touch with the two leaders and the island’s guarantor powers in a bid to strike a deal on the terms of reference.

The two leaders are expected to travel to New York in September where they will hold separate meetings with UNSG Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

It was not immediately clear if they would hold a joint meeting with Guterres.

Christodoulides said a joint meeting was expected to be held in New York at the end of the General Assembly but Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu said Monday no date or place has been set for a trilateral.

“September is a critical period in the sense that contacts take place in New York as part of the General Assembly, but also afterwards. The aim is to have positive results,” Christodoulides said.

He said a deadlock would be an especially negative development that would hinder efforts to resolve the island’s division.

It did not mean however that it would change the form of a solution.

“If we start from now to get into public debates over what would happen in case of failure and what forms of solution we should seek, it is like not wanting to reach the goal of bicommuncal, bizonal, federation,” he said. “We are going there to achieve success.”

In a statement on Monday, Burcu emphasised the importance of continuing the informal dialogue between the sides.

“Now if this dialogue turns into a formal negotiating procedure or not depends of course on the stance of the Greek Cypriot leadership,” he said. “In case this happens, it will be a process focused on the result and not open ended. We are not yet at this point. It is however, important for the Turkish Cypriot side to stick to its determined and persistent stance within the UN parameters.”


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