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Nicosia eyes fresh round of talks, FM tells Kathimerini

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Cyprus hopes to restart reunification talks that fell apart in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, the island country’s Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said in an interview with Kathimerini on Sunday, adding however that a fresh round of negotiations can only take place after a Turkish commitment to refrain from “violations and provocations” in the region.

Christodoulides said that a five-party conference, along the lines of Crans-Montana, outlining the methodology and procedure of future negotiations, could take place as soon as December. However, he said the precondition for that is the success of the tripartite meeting in Berlin on November 25 between United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Asked whether Nicosia insists on reaching a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation, he said that “changing the basis for a Cyprus settlement is out of the question.”

Christodoulides, who will meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington this week, expressed optimism that the US is edging closer to lifting the long-standing arms embargo on Cyprus, adding however that the ban “by no means reflects the level of bilateral relations” between the two states. “Lifting the embargo is mostly symbolic,” he said.