18 March 2014 14:19

President Anastasiades on Monday discussed with top UN resident official Lisa Buttenheim a potential upgraded and more active EU role in the recently-launched Cyprus peace process.
No statements were made after the hour-long meeting (photo) at the presidential palace but informed sources said the talks were held in a constructive climate.  Procedural matters were also discussed since the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus flies to New York today to also meet with Ban Ki-moon and his former special envoy Alexander Downer.
On Sunday, the President publicly said that initial indications on the UN-brokered reunification talks which began on February 11 were not very encouraging.
"The dialogue has begun but the first indications are not as encouraging as we would have liked them to be," said Anastasiades in his first negative comments about the process.
"We fought hard to push aside those who were not acting in an impartial way towards the solution of the Cyprus issue; we have achieved the upgrading of the EU's presence in the talks and do hope that the confidence-building measures will be such that they will create a new dynamic."  At the same time, self-declared 'foreign minister' in the Turkish occupied north Ozdil Nami returned home from the US where he held talks focusing on the Cyprus problem.
He told Turkish Cypriot journalists: "There is high level US interest in a Cyprus solution… In the meetings (held in Washington) it was clearly said that the efforts for a solution are closely followed and that America will support a Cyprus solution with all their means."
He added: "It was important that they also stated that their close interest will continue."
Nami had meetings with National Security Council and State Department officers as well as with members of the US Congress and ruling Democrat Party.
On his talks with various representatives of influential think tanks in the US capital, he said that their interest was focused on the newly-discovered natural gas offshore Cyprus.
"It has become quite clear that the issue of natural gas puts the Cyprus problem top of the US foreign policy agenda."  A talk aiming to reunite the divided island resumed after an agreement was reached on a joint communiqué highlighting the key principles of a federated Cyprus.
The thorny issue was the insistence of the Turkish side that an overall settlement should be based on a confederation rather than a federation as provided in all UN resolutions and high-level agreements on Cyprus.
Anastasiades has indicated that this issue is still brought up and sent the message that "the struggle which begins now will be difficult".
"We fought to achieve a joint communiqué which would safeguard the basic principles but also the basic ingredients of the solution that is being pursued."
And he added: "We have struggled to achieve that this state will evolve into a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation…with a single international personality, single sovereignty and a single citizenship".


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