Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said he was willing to participate in an informal five-party summit but that other solutions ought to be put on the table, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Tuesday after their first, informal meeting.
The meeting between the two leaders ended around two hours after getting underway on Tuesday evening within the protected area around the defunct Nicosia airport.
Anastasiades said upon his return to the Presidential Palace that the meeting took place “in a friendly atmosphere, as it was expected.”
He said he conveyed his determination to participate in a new five-party meeting – the two communities, and the three guarantors Greece, Turkey and the UK, to discuss a solution based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation (BBF).
“Mr Tatar said he was willing to participate in an informal five-party summit but that other ideas ought to be put on the table.
“I raised the issue of Varosha, and he raised the issue of hydrocarbons,” Anastasiades said.
He said this was their first meeting between them, so they did not go into details.
“I insisted however that what needs to be discussed is ways to reunite the country and future prospects. He insisted that after so many years, we ought to look at other forms of solution,” he said.
Anastasiades admitted there was a difference of opinion but said it was important that the necessary preparation was made to allow the UN secretary-general to convene an informal five-party meeting to see exactly where things are headed.
Asked if the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy, Jane Holl Lute, would come to Cyprus for contacts, the president said that this depends on the secretary-general.
On what he told Tatar in relation to Famagusta, he said that “on Famagusta, everything that had to be said was said.” He refrained from making further statements, which, he said, could spoil the friendly atmosphere created during the meeting.
Tatar said after the meeting that he put the two-state solution on the agenda and stated that his positions are towards this direction.
Right after the meeting the UN said in a written statement that Anastasiades and Tatar met for the first time as the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities.
“Mr Tatar and Mr Anastasiades expressed their determination to positively respond to the UN Secretary-General’s commitment to explore the possibility to convene an informal five-plus-United Nations meeting, in a conducive climate, at an appropriate stage,” it said.
It added that their informal meeting took place under the auspices of the Special Representative/Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar and it provided them an opportunity to get to know each other and to have their first informal exchange of views in a cordial atmosphere.
The Turkish Cypriot side wants joint management of the island’s natural wealth prior to a settlement solution while the Greek Cypriot side says that this matter would be managed by the federal government, after the solution, to which revenues would be allocated. It also says the Turkish Cypriots’ position contrasts with convergences achieved on the issue of hydrocarbons under past negotiating processes.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Anastasiades in a letter last week that he was ready to provide his Good Offices for the resumption of talks for a solution of the Cyprus problem, on the basis of all that has been agreed upon, the mutual understanding achieved in Berlin and according to the Security Council resolutions.
Guterres reiterated the availability of his Good Offices for the resumption of talks, to build on the existing body of work and his commitment to explore with the two leaders as well as with the guarantor powers, the possibility of launching an informal five-party plus UN summit at an appropriate stage.
Earlier in the day Tatar’s office said he was suing head of the Turkish Cypriot teachers’ union KTOS Sener Elcil for libel.
Elcil had asked Anastasiades in a written statement, among other things, whether he had no problem sitting at the same table with Tatar knowing that the partition of the island was an offence and he was in favour of a two-state solution, thus describing partition.
Elcil said that the 1960 agreements on the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus forbid union with other states or partition.
Tatar’s office said legal measures would be taken against Elcil because his statements do not respond to reality and discredit Tatar.