A second round of peace talks will be launched this morning with the climate frostier than the optimism that surrounded the resumption of the UN-brokered process in February.
Despite President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu signing a joint communiqué on a road map to Cyprus reunification, this meeting is expected to revolve around clarifications.
Nicosia is worried that the Turkish position is miles away from the agreed principles stipulated in February’s joint statement. The president is expected to present a document to show where the two sides differ and point out to the UN that there is a gap that needs to be closed. No results are expected from today’s face-to-face meeting but Anastasiades feels it important to clear the air and demand the need for key confidence building measures that are not part of a give-and-take agenda.
What the Greek Cypriots will want to see is a gesture of real intent from Turkey, especially on the issue of returning the ghost town of Varosha to its legal inhabitants.
Peace talks resumed last month after a two-year stalemate when Washington went into diplomatic overdrive to ensure a fresh settlement process gathered momentum.
But Nicosia feels the US must now do some arm twisting in Ankara to ensure these negotiations produce the desired results otherwise they are doomed to fail.