Convergence on core issues must be reached: Anastasiades

Following the meeting between TRNC President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades yesterday, President Anastasiades was emphatic that both sides had to present proposals on all the main issues of the Cyprus problem. Both sides have agreed to conclude the current phase of negotiations as soon as possible, Cyprus News Agency reports.

These proposals must then be discussed and convergences achieved before the ongoing reunification talks can move to the third phase.

President Eroglu said the two sides disagreed on matters which had been agreed previously with former President Demetris Christofias.

Unnamed sources cited by the Cyprus News Agency said that the meeting which lasted over three hours was “difficult”.

Anastasiades, they said, made it clear that there was no chance talks would enter the third phase if proposals on all aspects of all the core issues were not submitted reviewed and common ground was found.

President Anastasiades said he was ready to submit proposals by August and that the issue of territory was one of the most important aspects for the Greek Cypriots.

The same sources say that the territory issue took up most of the meeting as well as the EU’s role in the process.

The Turkish Cypriot side appeared negative on territory until, with the UN’s contribution, it was agreed to include in a statement read after the meeting by UN Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim, a phrase that states that the two leaders agreed “to submit and to continue submitting proposals on all core issues, as well as to conclude this phase as soon as possible”.

President Anastasiades also proposed the establishment of four new technical committees, namely, a committee on commerce and industry, a trade unions committee, a committee on reconstruction and resettlement and an EU committee.

President Eroglu said that he preferred that the existing technical committees resume their work. However, he said he would discuss the matter with his side before answering.

Sources said Greek Cypriot members of all technical committees, headed by Ambassador Andreas Pirishis, will be announced within the next few days.

The Turkish Cypriot side was negative on the creation of an EU technical committee, a matter which was discussed at length during the meeting, the sources said.

Anastasiades is said to have explained that the leaders would not be bound by the technical committee, but rather that it would be helpful if they were aware of whether certain proposals were in line with the EU acquis communitaire.

Eroglu said the two sides had differences on issues where agreement existed before, adding that the Greek Cypriots have a different view as regards the election of the president, governance and division of power.

The Greek Cypriots, he said, want the president to always be Greek Cypriot and the vice president Turkish Cypriot.

It is understood that Eroglu was referring to the rotating presidency, which ex-president Christofias had tabled on condition that Turkish Cypriots also accepted cross-voting, which they did not.

The two leaders will meet again on 23rd June 23 and 7th July.

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