Cyprus talks resume to shape framework

Published 11.04.2017 22:54

U.N.-led Cyprus peace talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades restarted on Tuesday after nearly a two-month break. The meeting initially focused on procedural issues for the next steps concerning the process.

Akıncı and Anastasiades met in the U.N.-controlled area of the island on Tuesday morning. According to sources at the meeting, the U.N. Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide's proposals on methods for the future of the negotiations were discussed by both leaders, with an aim to overcome certain disagreements about reunification.

Prior to the meeting, on Monday Eide met with Akıncı and spoke to Anastasiades on the phone, listening to their demands for the reunification talks. Eide said that during the meeting with the leaders, a clear idea could form on how they will likely structure the following weeks "so that we really focus on what is most important."

Before the two-month hiatus, both sides agreed on most of the issues regarding reunification. However, there were sticking points, such as security and a guarantee system, remaining unresolved. But Akıncı advocated reciprocity and emphasized "good will" for the fresh round of Cyprus reunification talks last week. "Only if we walk together will it then take us to a solution," Akıncı said. "No one should expect us to take one-sided steps in the new negotiation process," he added.

The talks were suspended in February following a decision by the Greek Cypriot administration around "enosis," to unite the island with Greece. The Turkish Cypriot side perceived this as a deviation from the stated goal of reunifying the island as a federation, something that Greek Cypriots strongly denied.

Once the reunification talks between the leaders come to an end, the Turkish and Greek communities on the island will have the final say in a referendum. A peace deal was approved by Turkish Cypriots in 2004 but rejected by Greek Cypriot voters.

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