By Kyriacos Kyriacou-Nicosia
After a three and half hour meeting, Greek Cypriot President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu agreed on Monday to conclude the current phase of UN-led negotiations for a comprehensive Cyprus solution “as soon as possible”.The two leaders met this morning at the area of the now defunct Nicosia airport. Cyprus has been divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN backed talks have been underway since February, between President Anastasiades and Eroglu with a view of reuniting the island under a federal roof.
After their departure from the area, the UN SG`s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim read a statement, saying that the leaders met in a constructive and cordial atmosphere and agreed to submit and to continue submitting proposals on all core issues, as well as to conclude this phase as soon as possible.
They also discussed revitalization of the technical committees, possible confidence building measures and other substantive issues, related to different chapters, Buttenheim went on. She added that the leaders agreed to meet twice a month, with the next meetings taking place on June 23 and July 7.
“Proposals on all core issues”
Speaking after the meeting, Nicos Anastasiades said that he made it clear to Dervis Eroglu that there has to be proposals from both sides on all core issues of the Cyprus problem.
President Anastasiades, they said, made it clear that there is no chance that talks will enter the third phase if proposals on all aspects of all the core issues are not submitted for discussion. At the same time he expressed his readiness to submit proposals on all aspects by August.
Negative on territory aspect
Sources say that the greatest part of the three hour meeting was spent discussing this as well as the EU`s role in the process.
The Turkish Cypriot side appeared negative on the territory aspect until with the positive contribution of the UN, it was agreed to include in a statement read out after the meeting by UN SG`s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim a phrase that states that the two leaders agreed “to submit and to continue submitting proposals on all core issues, as well as to conclude this phase as soon as possible”.
President Anastasiades also proposed to establish four new technical committees, namely, a Committee on Commerce and Industry, a Trade Unions Committee, a Committee on Reconstruction and Resettlement and an EU Committee.
The Turkish Cypriot leader said that he would rather that existing technical committees resume their work. As regards the establishment of new ones, he said he would discuss the matter with Turkish Cypriot actors and would think it over.