Spokesman describes ‘particularly important’ the leaders’ meeting on Friday

Spokesman describes ‘particularly important’ the leaders’ meeting on Friday

Nicosia, July 28, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides described on Thursday as particularly important the meeting the leaders of the two communities will have on Friday as it will be the first time since 2004 that there will be a discussion at a leaders` level on the issues of territory, security and guarantees.

Speaking after a closed session during the PSEKA conference in Nicosia where he briefed overseas Cypriots on the Cyprus issue, the Spokesman said on Friday there will be a first in-depth exchange of views by both leaders on the three issues, adding “this will be the start of a difficult discussion”.

The Spokesman said he informed overseas Cypriots on the strategy which our side is following on for a solution to the Cyprus issue and “we exchanged views on how to achieve the common goal to end the occupation and reunite our country, I informed them on the current state of affairs on the negotiating table and also about tomorrow`s very important meeting between the two leaders”.

Asked how the strategy on the Cyprus issue has changed after the failed coup in Turkey, he said the government is closely monitoring developments in Turkey and any development will undoubtedly, affect developments at the negotiating table.

On the one hand, he said, “it strengthens our argument on the security issue”, noting that there cannot be military guarantees on the part of Turkey or for the Turkish army to stay in Cyprus during a settlement and recent events in Turkey reinforce our argument. On the other hand, the Spokesman added, events in Turkey send “a clear message to the Turkish Cypriots that they must choose between the current state of affairs, the unacceptable state of affairs and dependency on Turkey, or a common future in the Republic of Cyprus, in a united Cyprus, EU member state.

Regarding the substance of the discussions, Christodoulides said everything will be determined at the negotiating table, adding that is why tomorrow`s meeting is deemed very significant.

Invited to define the procedure, he said tomorrow there will be a first exchange of views by both leaders, “I would say an in-depth exchange of views, followed by a decision on the next meetings which will begin in the last week of August and will continue until the President of the Republic departs for the UN General Assembly. The leaders”, he added, might also decide on the agenda of the meetings.

Asked if the Turkish Cypriot leadership takes into consideration the danger from the instability in Turkey, the Spokesman said he could not speak on behalf of the Turkish Cypriot community but added “I believe that not only Turkish Cypriots but also the international community assess that developments in Turkey strengthen our argument on the issue of security and guarantees”.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-led talks between President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Akinci have been underway since May 2015, aiming to reunify the island under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus New Agency