Cyprus leaders to meet on Thursday in Nicosia

Cyprus leaders to meet on Thursday in Nicosia

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will meet this coming Thursday in Nicosia to process and assess the results of the meetings held in Switzerland on Wednesday and Thursday of technical teams of the main parties involved in the United Nations-backed efforts to reunify the island.

Anastasiades said that the political discussion of the proposals submitted at the technical meetings must adhere to the principles outlined in the statement issued by the UN at the conference last week in Geneva attended by delegates from Greece, Turkey, the UK and the European Union.

Anastasiades said the meetings of the advisers were held to “record” the proposals of both sides, signaling that real progress will only be made at the political level.

According to diplomatic sources, the Turkish side went into the meetings without a mind for substantive talks, and remained steadfast in its positions with regard to the system of guarantees and post-settlement security, which remain one of the major obstacles to a deal which has defied mediation for more than 42 years.

Delegates from Britain – one of the island’s three guarantor powers, along with Greece and Turkey – who took part in the meetings reportedly backed the abolition of the current system of guarantees, maintaining, however, British rights to its sovereign bases in southern Cyprus.

Despite the efforts between Athens and Ankara to bridge their differences over Cyprus, relations remain tense, with an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying in a recent TV interview that “there is no Greece, because Prime Minister [Alexis] Tsipras has sold it, turning the Greeks into slaves.”

Meanwhile, six Turkish fighter jets on Friday carried out 24 air space violations in the northeastern, central and southeastern Aegean. The aircraft, all but two of which were flying in formation, were all chased off by Greek jets. There were no reports of dogfights.

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