The resumed Cyprus negotiations at Mont Pèlerin between President Nicos Anastasiades and President Mustafa Akinci started in a positive atmosphere on Sunday morning as the two community leaders prepared to tackle the territory criteria.
According to sources close to the negotiations there is an 80% chance of success for the ongoing talks to succeed. This would lead to agreement on the criteria for territory and setting a date for a multiparty conference.
“I don’t see how they could not agree on territory criteria these two days. Akinci’s opening last week has brought the sides very close to an agreement. It could have happened last Friday,” said a diplomatic source close to the negotiations.
President Anastasiades wants many unresolved issues to be agreed before going to a multiparty conference. Without these conditions being fulfilled, “going to the multi-party with territory and many other open issues would be a recipe for failure”, a source said.
The issue of territory is seen as one of the most intractable on the agenda.
Although the two leaders are said to have come close to agreeing the amount of territory that should be run by the Turkish Cypriot government – around 29% of the island – there are still disputes over which towns and villages should be included.
Any agreement will mean redrawing existing boundaries and potentially moving thousands of residents from their current homes, 42 years after many were displaced when the island was first split.
The negotiations are based on the same territorial ratios that were presented in the Annan Plan while both leaders have a similar understanding on the creation of special status zones and federal areas in places such as the Maronite village of Kormakitis/Koruçam, Karpaz and Guzelyurt/Morphou.
The leaders ended their meeting mid-afternoon today, in order to consult with their negotiating teams. They are expected to continue discussions over a working dinner at 8pm this evening.
A date for a multiparty conference may be announced for mid-December or early January. This will give both sides the opportunity to conclude any outstanding issues.
Cyprus Weekly, Ankara- Anatolia News Agency