President Nicos Anastasiades offered to meet with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Paris, who instead suggested that a meeting could take place in the north – to which Anastasiades replied: “no way”.
Details of the two brief encounters between the presidents at the EU-Nato meeting in Madrid on Wednesday have been teased out in the media since then, with Erdogan appearing dismissive and Anastasiades reiterating his readiness to talk.
Anastasiades was asked by reporters on Saturday about his conversation with Erdogan.
Reporters noted that Erdogan appears to have been dismissive of the meeting, with local media stating that the Turkish president instead called on the two sides to sort it out between each other.
“There was nothing to undermine, it was a cordial and friendly encounter,” Anastasiades said.
The president explained that there were two brief encounters in Madrid, one during the reception and one after the dinner, set up by French President Emmanuel Macron. Anastasiades told reporters that he had said it would be a good idea to meet in Paris, since Macron appeared willing to mediate.
“Erdogan said that we could meet in the northern part to which I said that it is out of the question,” Anastasiades told the reporters.
The back and forth playing out in the media took a sharp turn when proposals “for the future cooperation of the two states” were announced by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on Friday, seemingly taking the authorities in the Republic by surprise.
Those proposals, handed over by Tatar during a meeting with a senior UN official, received no immediate reaction from Anastasiades – who reiterated again on Saturday that he will comment further once he has properly received and reviewed them.
“I’ve seen some information in the press, yesterday morning I met with the UN assistant secretary-general who was also not aware of such proposals, which were handed over later – when I receive them then I will issue a subsequent response,” the president said.
Specifically, Tatar met with UN’s Assistant Secretary-General for Europe, Asia, and the Americas Miroslav Jenca; with the Turkish Cypriot leader unveiling his proposals: shared hydrocarbon exploration, an electricity interconnector to the EU via Turkey, joint solar energy projects, and shared use of water resources.