Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has not ruled out a tripartite meeting between himself, Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, given there is enough progress in the ongoing peace talks between the leaders of the two communities on the war-torn island.
“If there is enough progress that would allow it, or if the secretary-general wants to meet both leaders after the UN General Assembly, I don’t think it is the end of the world [if they meet],” Anastasiades said Tuesday, but he insisted this will be discussed on September 14 “when the course of the intensive dialogue is assessed.”
Anastasiades’s remarks follow the resumption of talks Tuesday with Akinci after the summer break. It was the first of six meetings – on August 23, 29 and 31 and on September 2, 6 and 8 – leading up to the UN General Assembly on September 14.
Both men have said they are committed to reaching a solution for the reunification of the island, which was divided after Turkey invaded in 1974, but have yet to overcome two sticking points: the system of guarantees whereby Greece, Britain and Turkey act as guarantor powers, and the issue of territory.
The Greek-Cypriot side and Greece have rejected any such meeting as they want the guarantees scrapped as an anachronism that would compromise the independence of Cyprus. The Turkish-Cypriot side and Turkey have insisted the guarantees must be maintained as part of any new agreement.
Anastasiades said Tuesday’s talks did not include discussions on these issues, but focused on the process that will be followed in the upcoming meetings.
“The basic principle we agreed upon is that the security of one side cannot pose a threat to the other,” Anastasiades said, adding that they touched upon Akinci’s recent meeting with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide tweeted Tuesday: “After a brief summer recess, intensified Cyprus talks continue in a constructive spirit. Crucial weeks ahead.”