Peace talks in Cyprus resume with a positive meeting

Peace talks in Cyprus resume with a positive meeting

Nicosia, May 15, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriacos Kyriacou

The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus have agreed to work tirelessly to reach as soon as possible a comprehensive settlement, the UN announced here today after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia.

They also agreed to work on a number of confidence building measures that would mutually benefit the two communities. President Nicos Anastasiades provided Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci with the coordinates of 28 minefields in the northern Turkish occupied areas of the island and Akinci announced that there will be no formalities as of Saturday at the crossing points, which operate along the ceasefire line, dividing the country since the 1974 Turkish invasion.

In a statement after their four-hour meeting in the UN protected area, in the now defunct Nicosia International Airport, the first since the election in the occupied north of Akinci to the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community, Special Adviser of the SG on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide on behalf of the two leaders said the two “undertook to work tirelessly to reach as soon as possible a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus question”.

The two leaders agreed that this will be a leader-led process, he added.

Furthermore, Eide said the leaders “began elaborating their shared vision for a united federal Cyprus” and this took place in a very positive and constructive atmosphere.

The leaders, he added, “agreed on how they intend to spearhead the process over the coming months. Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci have agreed to meet at least twice a month. Their next meeting will take place on Thursday 28 May 2015”, Eide said. The negotiators will meet intensively between leaders` meetings in support of this endeavour. Their first meeting will be held later today.

Eide said that as a sign of their mutual commitment, Akinci and Anastasiades “agreed to work together on a number of confidence building measures that would benefit the two communities.” He said Anastasiades provided Akinci with the coordinates of 28 minefields in the north of the island and Akinci announced that “from tomorrow there will no longer be a requirement to fill a form at the crossing points.”

He also said that they decided to set up a committee to promote cultural events that could bring the two communities closer together and both leaders stressed the importance of the missing persons issue and agreed to work together on this humanitarian matter.

Eide said the leaders plan to met socially in the coming period, “demonstrating their unity in promoting a mutually acceptable resolution of the Cyprus issue.” The two leaders will visit each other on 23th May 2015. Furthermore, said Eide, “they instructed the negotiators to work on further confidence building measures for the two leaders to consider.”

The UN diplomat said that in the “prevailing climate of optimism, and encouraged by the momentum that is building across the island, the two leaders underscored their shared will to reach a comprehensive settlement.”

In statements at the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, President Nicos Anastasiades that he had a very positive first meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, in the framework of UN-led talks for a Cyprus solution.

He added that instructions were given to the negotiators of both communities to work on proposals for specific measures that will improve people`s daily lives.

In particular, Anastasiades said that “the talks took place in a most positive atmosphere and I believe that by working in this way we can hope for progress”.

Asked to comment on measures announced by the Turkish Cypriot side, the President of the Republic said that “we are still at the very first stage.”

“We have instructed the negotiators to work on a series of measures” and present their suggestions, before taking any decisions, he added.

The President said moreover that it is a matter of a few days for the preparatory work to be done, and noted that the leaders will be able to announce more specific measures, during their next meeting, scheduled for May 28.

These measures will concern the daily lives of citizens, he added.

Asked about a social meeting with Akinci, announced for May 23 by UN SG Special Advisor Eide, the President said that the program will be announced within the next few days.

Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 invasion. A new round of UN-backed talks began Friday morning with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.