03 June 2014 15:38

President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu met yesterday for over three hours to push ahead with recently re-launched UN-brokered Cyprus peace talks but the ride was not easy.
"It was a difficult, very difficult meeting," an informed source said after the talks at the old Nicosia airport under the auspices of UN Secretary General's resident representative Lisa Buttenheim.
"For two hours, the President was trying to explain to Eroglu that they won't go to phase three before phase two is completed. That is, not before proposals by the Turkish side are submitted on all aspects of all core issues," added the source. The third phase is the give-and-take stage which implies arbitration if the two sides fail to agree.
And this only follows after the conclusion of convergences through the submission of proposals on all eight core issues and detailed discussion on them.
"It seems that the Turkish side is keen to lead the new round of talks into arbitration and failure. Eroglu also insists on a meeting between the two leaders and the UN Secretary General himself in New York," the source also said.
"But even the UN officials in Nicosia have made it clear that such a meeting would neither be fruitful nor constructive. That there is nothing on the table now indicating substantial progress," said the informed source.
Long-stalled reunification talks resumed on February 11 after Anastasiades and Eroglu reached agreement on a joint communiqué highlighting key principles of a federated Cyprus.
But the process appears to have been bumpy from day one as the Turkish side seems to be side-tracking from agreed principles.
Nonetheless, a UN statement read by Buttenheim after yesterday's meeting sent an optimistic note.
It said that "the leaders met in a constructive and cordial atmosphere and agreed to submit and to continue submitting proposals on all core issues, as well as to conclude this phase as soon as possible".
And it added: "They also discussed revitalisation of the technical committees, possible confidence-building measures and other substantive issues, related to different chapters".
The leaders will meet twice a month - the next to follow is on June 23 and then July 7.
Twice monthly meetings was actually agreed a week ago at the end of a high-profile visit to Cyprus by US Vice-President Joe Biden who tried but failed to announce a breakthrough confidence-building measure. Such as the opening of the ghost town of Varosha under EU and UN control.


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