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Cyprus leaders meet Ban today

25 September 2016

President Mustafa Akinci says he expects his meeting Sunday with his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide a road map for reunification of Cyprus.

Akinci and Anastasiades have said they have made progress on many issues, including on how to share power in a possible federation. But more work needs to be done. Akinci met with Ban on Saturday and Anastasiades met with the U.N. chief on 18th September.

Hopefully tomorrow’s meeting … will indicate the way which will carry us to the long-awaited final conclusion,” Akıncı told reporters after meeting with Ban at the U.N. on Saturday.

Ban will not act as an arbitrator but will address concerns if discussions appear to favour one side over the other. He has said that the negotiations are “Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led.”

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday during its annual ministerial meeting, Anastasiades said that despite differences, the goal of reaching a deal in 2016 was achievable.

I wish to, yet again, reiterate my resolve to continue working with the same determination and intensive pace in order to reach a solution … if possible, by the end of the year,” he said. “I do believe that this ambitious goal is achievable,” he said.

Anastasiades said the two sides still have differences on several issues, including EU membership, the economy and property rights. Security is another point of contention: Turkish Cypriots want Turkey to remain as guarantor, while Greek Cypriots see Turkey’s guarantees as redundant and non-negotiable.

Akinci said he also hoped for an agreement in 2016, partly because Ban’s term of office ends in December.

Meanwhile, a preparatory meeting was held in New York on Saturday ahead of what is expected to be a crucial meeting on Sunday morning New York time between the two Cypriot leaders and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

President Nicos Anastasiades met with UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide and UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar on Saturday ahead of the meeting to prepare for the encounter with Ban, which is expected to take place at 10.45am New York time.

CNA cited diplomatic sources on Saturday saying it would begin with Ban putting forward his thoughts after which there would be an exchange of views with Anastasiades and Akinci. The meeting is expected to last 45 minutes and will be followed by a public statement from the UNSG with the two leaders by his side.

According to CNA, the statement is expected to say that the leaders will continue their intensive negotiations on all chapter with a view to reaching a solution in 2016.

The text was expected to be finalised after a meeting between Ban and Akinci on Saturday evening, New York time.

Daily Sabah, Cyprus Weekly

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