Anastasiades seeks to rescue stalled Cyprus talks


One day after face-to-face talks between leaders of divided Cyprus broke off, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday sought to play down tensions ahead of the next scheduled meeting between the two sides on Thursday.

“I call on the Turkish-Cypriot leader to be present at the next meeting so that through a constructive dialogue we can forge the conditions that will allow us to be optimistic about a positive outcome,” he said.

“I do not wish, in any way, to engage in an unnecessary blame game, especially after the public explanation by the UN envoy,” Anastasiades added, referring to the United Nations’ Espen Barth Eide, who is overseeing the peace negotiations that have been ongoing for almost two years.

Eide said that Mustafa Akinci, the leader of the breakaway state in the occupied north of Cyprus, was the one who abandoned Thursday’s talks, a view that is being contested by the Turkish-Cypriot side.

The latest setback to the negotiations came in the wake of indignation among Turkish Cypriots at a decision by Cyprus’s Parliament to adopt a resolution on February 9 commemorating a 1950 unofficial referendum seeking union, or “enosis,” with Greece.

Greek-Cypriot officials, however, insist that recent comments and diplomatic maneuvers coming from the rival camp suggest that its motives are of a different sort.

On Friday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim repeated a request that post-solution, Turkish nationals should be given the four EU freedoms – free movement of people, goods, services and capital – in a federal Cyprus.

Yildirim also repeated that Turkey will not abandon the multi-party negotiations, stressing however, that a Cyprus settlement must ensure Turkey’s continued status as a guarantor power.