Turkey`s stance on core issues in the UN-led Cyprus peace talks is pivotal to a political settlement, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades has stressed, pointing out that there are fundamental matters relating to negotiating chapters which are entirely dependent on Ankara`s will and its contribution.

The President outlined this position in statements to the press following an hour long meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris, with whom he discussed a Cyprus solution, bilateral issues and EU matters.

According to an official announcement, the President was welcomed by his French counterpart at Elysee Palace and he inspected a military guard of honour.

President Anastasiades told the press that the meeting was productive and they had the chance to review bilateral ties and focus on the current state of play in the Cyprus talks and the efforts underway to achieve a solution.

He pointed out that the solution must be acceptable by both communities in Cyprus, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, adding that the objective to reach a settlement by the end of 2016 might sound optimist.

Invited to comment on France`s stance towards Turkey, bearing in mind that Paris is often tougher on Turkey than other EU countries, the President pointed out that France` s stance is entirely in line with international law, it is not in favour or against Turkey, but in favour of international law.

Asked whether they discussed TOTAL`s engagement in Cyprus` Exclusive Economic Zone, the President said that they did not touch upon this issue, however this matter was raised during a meeting the Cyprus FM Ioannis Kasoulides had in the morning with company officials. He added that the President of TOTAL will be visiting Cyprus soon and they will have the chance to discuss further this issue.

President Anastasiades noted that an international competition is underway, there are rules and EU supervision and therefore the French President could not possibly intervene in any way.

He said that there is interest from the French, the Italian and the Americans, but the procedures are transparent.

President Anastasiades said that they also discussed developments in Syria and that the issue will be the focus of the next European Council where they will have the chance to get involved in a detailed dialogue.

Cyprus President was in Paris following a visit to London and a meeting with UK Premier Teresa May. Earlier on his was in NY for the UNGA and a tripartite meeting with SG Ban Ki Moon and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

The two leaders, Anastasiades and Akinci, have been engaged in UN-backed talks with the aim to reunite Cyprus under a federal roof. The island has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. Turkey aspires to join the EU but has so far failed to meet all EU prerequisites in its european course.

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