The leaders of the two communities in Cyprus, President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, have decided to intensify the Cyprus negotiations, aiming at reunifying the island.
In a statement read out on behalf of the two leaders, Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said that the leaders met today in a spirit of cooperation, reconfirming their joint vision for a united Cyprus as set out in the Joint Declaration of February 11, 2014.
“The leaders recognized the hard work of the negotiators and their relevant experts on defining clear criteria on property, as well as their continued efforts on outstanding aspects of governance and power-sharing and economy,” he said.
He added that the leaders furthermore welcomed that experts have begun work in order to prepare the future Turkish Cypriot constituent state for the implementation of the EU acquis upon entry into force of the settlement agreement, while sessions have been held on food safety, plant health and veterinary regulations, which are all important enablers of post-settlement trade.
Likewise, Eide noted, legal experts have begun work on federal laws that will form part of the future settlement.
Today’s meeting was the 10th formal meeting between the leaders since the resumption of talks in May. During the same period, the negotiators have met 50 times, while the various technical committees and working groups have had no less than 87 meetings.
“These interactions have created a solid basis for the intensification of talks, a phase in which the leaders will take an even more direct role in the negotiations. The purpose is to seek mutually beneficial solutions on issues where divergences remain,” Eide pointed out.
He said that the leaders have agreed to meet at least six times during the coming month, and agreed on the dates on which they will be meeting. This intense phase will start on Monday, November 2, after which they will meet on the 5th, 18th 20th, 23rd and 25th November. The negotiators and their teams will continue to meet on an almost daily basis.
The UN official explained that “this intensified phase will not consist of individual meetings followed by a public statement each time, as has been the case till now. Rather, it will be seen as sessions of a continuous meeting, in which assessments of achievements made or obstacles remaining will only be made towards the end.”
He furthermore said that the leaders reiterate that they each negotiate in the interests of their own communities, as well as taking into consideration the concerns of the other community, in order to reach a settlement that meets the best interests of all citizens of a future, united Cyprus.
“Recognizing the inter-dependent nature of the issues, Mr. Anastasiades and Mr. Akıncı have agreed to put their sights on a future where all citizens of a united Cyprus can co-exist and live together in peace and prosperity,” he concluded.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-backed talks since May this year with the aim to reunite the island under a federal roof.