South determined to increase EU involvement in Cyprus talks

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades returned to Cyprus last night after his two-day working visit to Athens.

As one of his spokesmen said, the President returns home “as a tired but less worried man” because it is important that Athens and Nicosia are adamant on continuing the negotiation process with the Turkish Cypriots, “although this process, lately seems to have staggered”.

President Anastasiades briefed the leaders of the parliamentary parties on the progress of the ongoing negotiations which, as he told them, “is not progress at all”.

Anastasiades firmly believes that “it is time to implicate the European Union” in the “solution process” – a sentiment he conveyed to Athens.

It was decided that Greece would undertake this initiative, utilising Prime Minister Samaras’s “excellent relationship” with Jean Claude Juncker whom he fully backed as President of the European Commission.

Juncker will visit Athens next Friday, 4th August and Foreign Secretary, Evangelos Venizelos, who had held a private meeting with Anastasiades said, “we will discuss with him all possibilities of this involvement”.

Greek media reported today that Athens may ask the new European Commissioner to look at the possibility of appointing, directly and for the first time, a special EU envoy for the Cyprus talks. Venizelos, not wishing to expand on that topic merely said, “we will see”.

However, he added that he is sure that: “Mr Juncker will understand that Brussels should inevitably get involved in the Cyprus problem because if things go wrong, the consequences will effect the whole EU”.

Leader of the opposition, Alexis Tsipras has agreed with President Anastasiades that the Cyprus issue “should open up to the EU and the United States”, but added that “Greece and Cyprus should also find new allies, as the political situation in our area is complex and ever-changing”.

All Greek political parties, except the Communist party, have agreed that the talks should continue.

Furthermore, all the players are waiting for the outcome of the presidential elections in Turkey. A diplomatic spokesman told CNA that “a lot will be clarified, one way or another, on the 10th August when we will know whether [Tayip] Erdogan will be elected President of Turkey, as expected”.

President Anastasiades agreed with Prime Minister Samaras that “be what may, we will continue our efforts for a just and viable solution to the Cyprus problem”.

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