The two Cypriot community leaders held their seventh meeting in the Cyprus negotiations on Saturday.
President Anastasiades described himself “cautiously optimistic”, but noted that difficulties still lay ahead.
Speaking to the Turkish Cypriot press on his return to the north, President Akinci said that there had been progress and that new convergences had been reached in Saturday’s meeting.
The two leaders will continue discussing the issues of governance and property in their final meeting on Wednesday, 14th September, before the UN General Assembly takes place in New York.
“The real aim for Wednesday though, is to prepare a joint statement,” said Akinci
“Both sides have mutual aspirations for the other, we hope that they (Greek Cypriots) will continue the process within a realistic and logical framework. If this is achieved, I can’t see any reason for not coming to an agreement,” President Akinci said.
“The joint statement on Wednesday will not introduce a new agreement framework, nor will we list convergences but we aim to share views that we consider important. We are not working on a framework for an agreement but a comprehensive solution which can be implemented through a referendum in both communities,” said Akinci.
Referring to the discrepancy between the two sides with the time change, Akinci said that although he would personally prefer the island to be in the same time zone, until a solution was achieved, there would be such inconsistencies.
“If you ignore whether it is right or wrong, and think of the why, one will understand that it brings us closer to Turkey than it does to the Greek Cypriot side,” he said.
“It seemed the logical thing to do as it won’t disrupt flying times, as only planes from Turkey arrive in the north, and it won’t disrupt the financial sector.
“We are not a province of Turkey, we are a different entity and we are striving to reach a solution for Cyprus, but the decision was made in light of practical necessities. We have very close ties with Turkey but we are negotiating with the south for the creation of a federal state. With Turkey so close, that which happened is a natural result. I understand this. Do I want it? No,” Akinci concluded.