Leaders’ meeting focuses on confidence building measures

Leaders’ meeting focuses on confidence building measures


By Kyriacos Kyriacou – Nicosia

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu continued peace talks in a meeting on Monday in the UN protected zone in the area of the old Nicosia airport. During the meeting the leaders discussed different confidence building measures. The proposals were submitted in writing last Friday, with President Anastasiades taking them with him to his meeting with the Turkish-Cypriot leader, and Dervis Eroglou sending them in later that day. According to reliable sources, one of Greek Cypriot proposals discussed was the return of occupied area Varoshia in Famagusta district. One among the Turkish Cypriot proposals was the opening of more barricades which are dividing the island such as the one in Leuka village. Barricade openings have allowed people from both sides to cross the boarders. Among others significant developments expected in the meeting is Dervis Eroglou’s response to the proposal submitted by Nikos Anastasiades on the methodology to be followed during the negotiating process.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. President Anastasiades and Eroglu are currently engaged in talks, aiming to reunify the county under a federal roof.

“Building trust”

President Nicos Anastasiades has said on Sunday that the Greek Cypriot side pays special attention to the adoption of confidence building measures (CBMs), which are of vital importance for building trust between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot  communities and for restoring people`s hopes for achieving a just, viable and mutually accepted solution of the Cyprus problem. The Eastern Mediterranean Island is divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

Anastasiades, who was speaking at a memorial service at the village of Amiantos, said that the Greek Cypriot side was ready to engage in a negotiating process to achieve a solution that will safeguard the unity of the country and respect the basic freedoms and human rights of the people of the island.

“The adoption of the Joint Declaration on February 11, paved the way for continuing the constructive negotiations between the two communities, aimed at finding a comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem based on the high level agreements between the two communities, the UNSC resolutions and the principles and values of the EU,” he said.  Anastasiades added that finding a solution was his priority and he urged the political leadership and society to demonstrate a spirit of unity.

Leaders’ visit anthropological laboratory

During the meeting, the leaders of the island’s divided communities have agreed to jointly visit the anthropological laboratory of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) on July 24, before their next meeting on the same day, the United Nations announced.

UNSG`s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim said that visit had been agreed last Friday without however setting a date.

Noting the leaders met “in a positive and friendly atmosphere”, Buttenheim said that the leaders instructed their negotiators to conduct an additional special meeting on the issue of confidence building measures, and also on the methodology and the way forward, based on the proposals submitted by both sides, with a view to preparing suggestions for the next leaders meeting.”

The CMP is a bi-communal body established in 1981 by the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities with the participation of the United Nations.

Following the establishment of an agreed list of missing persons, the CMP’s objective is to recover, identify, and return to their families, the remains of 2001 persons — 502 Turkish Cypriots and 1,493 Greek Cypriots — who went missing during inter-communal strife in the 1960s and the 1974 Turkish invasion.

The CMP employs a bi-communal forensic team of more than 60 Cypriot archeologists, anthropologists and geneticists, who conduct excavations throughout the island and anthropological and genetic analyses of remains at the CMP Anthropological Laboratory.