Cyprus leaders to meet ahead of January summit


Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will hold talks on Tuesday ahead of an international conference in Geneva on January 12 as disagreement remains on the issue of security in an envisioned federal Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriots want Turkey to retain military intervention rights and to keep troops on the island while Nicosia insists that those rights – currently enjoyed by guarantor nations Greece, Turkey and Britain – must be scrapped.

On Friday, Anastasiades met with French President Francois Hollande in Nicosia who said his country could play a “useful role” in getting the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council engaged in the four-day summit in Switzerland.

Hollande’s visit came as French energy giant Total expressed an interest in drilling for hydrocarbons in blocks 6 and 10 off the coast of Cyprus. The French president met Anastasiades after visiting the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Eastern Mediterranean which is helping the US-led operation against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.