President Mustafa Akinci, met with President Nicos Anastasiades to carry out the first round of talks focusing on issues of security, territory and guarantees. The idea was to brainstorm these topics.
After the three and a half hour meeting, President Akinci said that these are complicated issues and could not be solved in one go. Both sides had expressed their concerns on these issues. However, he maintained that he remained committed to try and find a resolution. Clearly not wishing to elaborate on the topic, he said that it was important not to underestimate the value of the work invested in the talks, thus far. Caution was need, he stressed, when making statements about the discussions, in order not to harm the process. He was hopeful but aware of the difficulties.
Asked about the issue of a rotating presidency, in the event of a solution, Akinci said that the issued had not been fully agreed upon.
Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot daily Cyprus Mail reports that President Anastasiades said that “the differences had been identified, but that there was also the will to overcome them through creative dialogue”.
“Of course, this will show in the end; it was the first meeting – I wouldn’t say the first dealing with the matter because views had been exchanged at times – but the first that dealt with the matter in-depth,” Anastasiades said.
Noting that was still a fair way to go, he said that both sides had the will to tackle the issues that concerned both communities. Anastasiades also declined to give details of the discussion, saying that it could influence the ongoing talks.
“We are talking about a very sensitive issue for both sides and we have said that special attention will be observed on what everyone is saying,” the president added.
He noted that the distance between the two sides could be reduced through dialogue and a “creative effort to overcome problems, concerns, and potential threats.”
The Greek Cypriots want to scrap the existing system of guarantees, while Turkey remains adamant about continuing to be a guarantor. In addition, the Greek Cypriots want to see the Turkish army leave the island. A gradual reduction of Turkey’s military presence in Cyprus would be acceptable, they say.
According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), the two sides have carried out significant preparatory work on the criteria regarding territory. This is linked to the other problematic issue of property, which cannot be resolved until the matter of territory is agreed.
CNA said the aim was to secure the return of at least 100,000 refugees out of the registered number of 160,000, under Greek Cypriot administration and religious sites of particular importance.
They also want security for the island’s coast and connections to villages and communities.
Kibris Postasi, Cyprus Mail