Samaras, Anastasiades discuss Cyprus reunification talks, hydrocarbon exploitation

The resumption of peace talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the future of the trilateral relationship with Israel were at the center of discussions in Athens on Friday between Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

The Greek premier reiterated calls for a “bizonal, bicommunal, federal state with a single international voice, a single sovereignty and a single citizenship,” while

Anastasiades called for a “new impetus” in upcoming negotiations but warned that Turkish Cypriots appear reluctant to issue a joint statement on the need for a single sovereign state.

He reportedly informed Greek officials that a joint statement is a precondition before talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu. Anastasiades also urged Brussels and Ankara to become more involved in negotiations.

The Cypriot leader also reiterated Nicosia’s long-standing demand for the return of Varosha, a no-go zone since the 1974 Turkish invasion, as a confidence-building measure. “The return of the fenced-off area… will restore the Greek Cypriots’ trust in Turkey… and will bring the two communities together in the reconstruction of what has been a ghost town for 39 years,” he said.

The two leaders also discussed ways of exploiting hydrocarbon reserves in the exclusive economic zone of Israel and Cyprus, namely alternative pipeline projects and the island’s planned liquefaction plant (LNG).