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Anastasiades departs for Berlin in hope of restarting Cyprus talks

File photo: Antonio Guterres, Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci at Crans Montana (CNA)

PRESIDENT Nicos Anastasiades will depart on Sunday morning for his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in hopes of restarting Cyprus talks, an announcement from the presidential palace said on Saturday.

Anastasiades will be accompanied by the Greek Cypriot side’s top negotiator, Andreas Mavroyiannis, his undersecretary Vasilis Palmas, the head of his diplomatic office Kyriakos Kouros, and a member of the office Pantelis Pantelides.

In Berlin, Anastasiades will meet with Guterres and his special envoy, Jane Holl Lute, who has come to Cyprus several times in a bid to agree on the terms of reference necessary to restart the talks. He will later meet with Akinci and Guterres over dinner on Monday night.

On Friday, government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Anastasiades saw the Berlin meeting as an opportunity to resume talks as soon as possible.

Prodromou added the UN chief will review with the two leaders how they can move on and what the next steps should be.

A rally was also held on Friday evening, supported by bi-communal groups calling on the two leaders to restart negotiations at the meeting in Berlin.  The rally was attended by approximately 500 demonstrators, who submitted proposals to both Akinci and Anastasiades.

However, last week, the president admitted to having expressed a lack of optimism for the Berlin meeting.

Anastasiades told the National Council the reason for his lack of optimism was due to earlier conversations he had with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, which indicated to him there would be no result from his meeting with Akinci and Guterres in Berlin on November 25.

Prior to the national council meeting, Anastasiades also discussed the potential talk during a casual meeting with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.

“I informed the National Council of what I specifically said to Mr Talat, knowing or taking into account the statements of Mr Cavusoglu in September and October. And what I have told him [Talat] is I regret to say that based on Turkey’s stance, what I appreciate is that, unfortunately, the meeting of November 25 in Berlin seems to be an informal meeting with no result and we will be left only with the cost. That’s exactly what I said,” Anastasiades added.

The latest round of talks between the two sides broke down in 2017.

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