Speaking after their meeting in the framework of the Cyprus negotiations both community leaders gave feedback.
The topic for discussion was property and this is one of the most problematic issues, President Mustafa Akinci said after their meeting on Friday.
“42 years later, the situation is complicated,” he said. “If you count from 1963 it is 53 years, if you count since 1974 it is 42, but this is really one of the most complex issues.
“Today, we worked hard on some points on which we disagree. I cannot say that we covered quite a distance, we are not in a position to say that we eliminated all disputes. It is evident that regarding this difficult matter (property) we need to work more.”
Akinci, said that the two leaders will discuss issues such as citizenship and legal rights at their meeting on 8th July.
He also spoke about the importance of reaching a solution in 2016. Recent developments in the region were also driving this, he said, referring to the rapprochement between Turkey and Israel regarding natural gas.
“[The transfer of gas from] Cyprus to Europe is via Turkey,” Akinci said, “if we solve the Cyprus problem, all this will make more sense, can best be implemented, it will be more practical and all sides will be able to benefit much more. If we do not solve the Cyprus problem, if it cannot be solved, we are likely to remain outside the energy equation and this is not a matter only for Turkish Cypriots, but also for Greek Cypriots.”
He added that this month, there will still be five meetings on 8, 12, 22, 26 and 29 July.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades speaking after the Friday meeting said that although there had been some progress reached on the issue of property, there remain substantive differences on both sides.
“The meeting was held in a positive climate, I cannot say there was tension, despite our differences,” Anastasiades said. “Despite the progress observed on the property issue, substantive differences remain.”
Anastasiades said it had been decided that the owner of the property would have the first say but there were problems on a number of issues; who has entitlement, who does not, if the property had been developed – how to assess how substantial that development was?
He also noted that the property issue was linked to territorial readjustments.
“The two are interconnected. If there is progress in the matters of principle, important matters in the property chapter, again they will be linked to territorial readjustments,” he said.
The Greek Cypriot president also said that he was rethinking whether or not to permit the National Council to have sight of documents related to the negotiations.
This follows the event when the leader of EDEK said that the public had to know the truth and announced the contents of the confidential documents covering two meetings.
Anastasiades said he would brief party leaders in the meantime. He will announce his decision about sharing the minutes of presidential meetings for the Cyprus negotiations as soon as the parliamentary elections are over.
It was his intention, he said, to send a proposal to all parties, about the composition of the National Council and under what conditions it might operate.
Asked if there would be some kind of confidentiality protocol involved, the president said that there would be an honour agreement.
“I will subsequently convene the National Council provided the leaders of the parties accept some fundamental issues,” he said.
“Party leaders will be able to express the positions they stand for but not those of others or what is discussed at the National Council or to publish documents,” he said. “This is essential or else it (council) cannot function in a constructive way.”
The council should not be used as a platform for propaganda or to undermine other parties, he concluded.