Cyprus leaders vow to press talks, as sides set to meet again Nov 20
NICOSIAFive days of U.N.-sponsored talks on ending the decades-old division of Cyprus have adjourned without a breakthrough but negotiators vowed Nov. 12 to press on for a deal this year.
The much-heralded talks between Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders in the Swiss resort of Mont Pelerin were supposed to produce a map of the internal boundaries of a future federation on the eastern Mediterranean island.
But they ended without any public comments by Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı or Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.
A brief U.N. statement at the end of the one-week-long negotiations on late Nov. 11 said “significant progress has been achieved,” without giving any specifics.
The high-level talks will resume in Geneva on Nov. 20.
Upon his arrival in Cyprus from Switzerland, Akıncı said late Nov. 12 that Cyprus peace talks would resume in Switzerland.
“I consider the idea that it [talks] remain conclusive as a pessimist approach. Because this process is not over,” Akıncı told reporters.
Akıncı said the talks were suspended for one week at the request of his counterpart Anastasiades.
“Therefore, the process will resume in Switzerland. That is the agreement reached,” he said.
He also said Turkish Cypriots would continue with their “well-intentioned efforts.”
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops partially intervened in the north of the island in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.
“The dialogue is still ongoing and it is for this reason that there was a decision to postpone talks for a week and resume next Sunday, Nov. 20 in Geneva,” Greek Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters on Nov. 12, according to AFP.
“There was significant and noticeable progress which is why we decided to continue.”
He said the initial plan is for next week’s talks to last for three days.
“If there is the will, in a day or two days we would be able to close an agreement on this issue,” he said.
The Turkish government said it remained committed to the success of the negotiations, although not at any price.
“We know what concessions we can make on specific points... I hope we get a result,” government spokesman Numan Kurtulmuş told reporters.
“That doesn’t mean that Turkey will accept any concessions that are dictated to it to reach a solution.”
Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Nov. 12 that Turkey’s expectations at this point was for the sides to continue the talks in a “result-oriented and constructive understanding,” determine a date for the quintet conference and reach a final peace deal before the end of 2016.
The territorial negotiations in Switzerland were supposed to be followed by five-party – or quintet – talks between the leaders of the two communities and the three main outside powers - Greece, Turkey and former colonial ruler Britain.
But despite the insistent demands of the Turkish Cypriots, no date for those has yet been set.