President briefs National Council on Cyprus peace talks

President briefs National Council on Cyprus peace talks

Nicosia, July 14, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Kyriacos Kyriacou

President Nicos Anastasiades briefed on Tuesday the members of the National Council on developments in the Cyprus problem. The Council also discussed developments relating to Greece.

Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said here today that the President informed in detail the members of the Council about the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and his meetings with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to reach a solution to reunite Cyprus.

He added that some of the parliamentary party leaders members of the Council raised some questions and the President responded to them. After that a discussion was held on developments at the European level regarding Greece and the agreement reached between Athens and its international creditors.

Responding to questions about the Cyprus talks, Christodoulides said that “we are at the beginning of the process,” adding that the aim is to achieve a political understanding between the two leaders on the issues on which there is no agreement.

He added that a political discussion is taking place on the three issues which are on the negotiating table right now and after that the negotiators of the two sides are being informed to see how this political understanding can be reflected in the documents concerning these issues.

“We are reservedly optimistic,” he added, noting that “there is certainly a better climate but we are at the beginning of the process and we expect and hope that as things move forward and there is concrete progress, the political leadership will be briefed accordingly.”

The spokesman also said that cross negotiations help the whole negotiating process since the two sides have an incentive to negotiate.

Invited to comment on information that the Turkish Cypriot leader has asked for a rotating presidency, Christodoulides said that he will not comment on the substance of the discussions, noting that there is no conclusion on this issue as there is disagreement.

“The positions of the Turkish side and our positions are well known. But we are at the negotiating table. This is why negotiations are being held to see if we can find a solution to the issues on which there is disagreement,” he pointed out.

The spokesman said that the three fundamental freedoms provided by the acquis communautaire will certainly be implemented in the Republic of Cyprus, adding that at the same time “we will see how we will ensure bi-communality and political equality.”

“We think that this can be done. We are at the negotiating table, we have consistent and clear positions towards this direction, positions which are being understood and endorsed by many parties who are interested in the Cyprus problem. We are optimistic that on the basis of these positions, which safeguard the Turkish Cypriots as well, we can reach an agreement on this issue,” he added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities, President Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since mid May with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.