President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu agreed yesterday to continue the screening process in the UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks.
After a nearly three-hour meeting at Nicosia’s UN protected area, a joint statement said that their aim was to conclude this phase as soon as possible.
“With a view to entering into the next stage of the Cyprus talks,” said a statement read out by Acting Special Adviser to UN Secretary General on Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim.
The two leaders agreed to meet again in a month’s time or earlier if necessary.
Stalled peace talks aiming to reunite the divided island resumed on February 11 after the two leaders agreed on a controversial joint communiqué highlighting the key principles of a federated Cyprus.
But the process seems to be far from smooth, with Anastasiades telling reporters waiting for him at the Presidential Palace that differences had been ascertained.
“There was a review of the progress or lack of progress until today on the basis of the positions that were submitted by the two sides. It appears that there is a need for further dialogue,” said Anastasiades.
“The differences that exist until today were ascertained. Also ascertained or pointed out, on the part of our side, was the inconsistency of Turkish Cypriot proposals in relation to the joint communique,” he added.
The Turkish Cypriots also voiced some of their fears and concerns during the meeting.
The president said there will be a second phase where a more detailed discussion will start taking place.
Last week, the President made public that he was drafting a document in which there was a comparison between the Turkish side’s positions so far and the provisions included in the communiqué.
The document highlighted the divergences rather than the convergences of the Turkish side from what was agreed in the communiqué.
The President intends to hand this document to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon when they meet in Brussels tomorrow.
No confidence-building measures were discussed at yesterday’s face-to-face talks which were not expected to produce anything tangible.
Also attending the meeting was appointed negotiators Andreas Mavroyiannis and Kudret Ozersay from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot side, respectively.
As well as close aides of the President and of the Turkish Cypriot leader.