Two presidents meet in the UN Buffer Zone

Presidents Anastasiades and Eroglu met this morning to sign the joint statement which lays foundations of the talks which will create a renewed federation of Cyprus.

The two leaders met for 90 minutes in the UN controlled buffer zone in Nicosia. Formulation of an agreement took five months and was finally agreed upon with the “quiet” backing of the US.

The Greek Cypriot president had been adamant about formulating the joint agreement in order to avoid another round of endless negotiations which have dogged the island for 40 years. The target of the negotiations is to reunify the island as a federated Cyprus, while each side keeps its own independent constituent state.

“Today’s joint statement outlines the basic principles for a solution…(it) is not the final accord but the beginning of an arduous effort in order to reach the desired goals,” Anastasiades said.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that the organisation was resolutely committed to the negotiations. His Special Advisor to Cyprus, Alexander Downer has stepped down from the role that he has filled for the past five years. Meanwhile EU European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said the declaration laid “a solid foundation” for a settlement.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said that he hoped that there would be “no backwards steps” taken during the talks.

President Eroglu will be issuing a statement tomorrow.

It now falls to the top negotiators, Turkish Cypriot Kudret Ozersoy and Greek Cypriot Andreas Mavroyiannis and their respective teams to follow through with the arduous task of proceeding with the negotiations.

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