President Mustafa Akinci has walked out of this morning’s meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades.
The atmosphere of the meeting was chilly after the south’s parliament voted to commemorate Enosis Day in secondary schools.
A clearly agitated Anastasiades told reporters upon his return to the Presidential Palace that he would not be making any comments just yet and that he would issue a written statement later in the day.
Havadis newspaper described the meeting as being “tense” due to the Enosis Day controversy but CyBC sources dispute those claims saying that the talks are not “dead in the water” and that “it wasn’t us that walked away from the meeting”.
The Turkish Cypriot side has said that the amendment to the bill could derail the talks, however President Anastasiades has refused to change his policy.
Both community leaders were expected to fly out to Geneva for a second Conference On Cyprus next month but on Wednesday, Akinci warned that the talks “will be pointless” if Anastasiades doesn’t distance himself from parliament’s vote. President Akinci walking out of the talks appears to have deferred that trip for the time being.
The bill essentially calls for secondary school pupils to honour the anniversary of the 1950 Enosis (union of Cyprus with mainland Greece) Referendum which is already part of the south’s history curriculum.
Smaller parties had backed the bill while Opposition left-wing Akel party voted against and ruling party Disy abstained. The amendment had been supported by far right party ELAM.
After the results of the vote, President Akinci cancelled a meeting between the two chief negotiators Ozdil Nami and Andreas Mavroyiannis on Wednesday.
The Turkish government described President Anastasiades’ attempt to play down the vote as “meaningless and unacceptable”.