The Greek Cypriot negotiating team to assist the appointed interlocutor in upcoming UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks should be selected by the week’s end, a government spokesman said yesterday.
But a first meeting of the two Cypriot leaders still has a long way to go as the two sides are still far apart on agreeing the ground rules for negotiation.
After yesterday’s meeting of President Anastasiades and political party leaders, spokesman Christos Stylianides said: “A discussion (on the negotiating team) continued today. I believe that by the week’s end agreement will be reached on the specific names that will be announced.”
Insiders told The Cyprus Daily that the team will be eight or nine in number and will include new Attorney General Costas Clerides, Nicosia lawyer and constitutional expert Christos Clerides, former minister and ex-Edek leading member Marios Eliades and Toumazos Tselepis, an Akel-affiliated constitutional expert who was also in the previous talks team.
Party leaders agreed yesterday to submit more names of potential experts.
But they also called on the President to ensure that the joint statement which will clarify the basis as well as procedure to be followed in the UN talks should be crystal clear.
Stylianides said the National Council’s position is that “we should get into this new round of negotiations on the basis of new facts”.
Last week, Turkish press reports said November 4 would be the day the two Cypriot leaders meet to kick-start the talks.
But this was promptly denied by both the UN and Cypriot officials.
President Anastasiades who returned from Athens on Friday with a joint strategy on the peace process with the Greek leadership wants a momentum to be built before talks resume.
He has proposed the return of the ghost town of Varosha to its lawful Greek Cypriot inhabitants as a start.
He argues that it is a confidence building measure that will boost Greek Cypriots’ trust in the outcome of the new round of negotiations.
Confidence that will bring both communities together to work for the reconstruction of the once cosmopolitan town that remains abandoned since the 1974 Turkish invasion.