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Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides has pointed out that “we are at a crucial stage in the Cyprus issue” and expressed satisfaction that the issue of territory is not linked to the issue of security any more and will be discussed on its own.

Speaking after a meeting at the Presidential Palace between President Nicos Anastasiades and the UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, Christodoulides said that Tuesday`s meeting between President Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will be mainly preparatory for their next meetings, meaning that the leaders of the two communities will discuss which topics to address and how often to meet, even setting dates for those meetings.

“Our side, with utmost seriousness, with proper preparation, will sit at the negotiating table, and we hope that through the dialogue to ensue there will be results which will allow us to be optimistic”, Christodoulides said.

The Spokesman also announced that the scheduled for Tuesday meeting of the National Council – top advisory body to the President on the handling of the Cyprus problem – is being postponed till Thursday.

He said the President will brief the National Council on his meetings in New York, London and Paris, as well as his meeting with Akinci and how the process will continue.

Replying to questions, Christodoulides said political will was important at the negotiating table in order to overcome the difficulties and bridge the gap in approaches, adding that the substantive discussion of the issue of territory would highlight intentions.

Asked how long this phase of the talks would last, Christodoulides said there was no deadline for the intensified negotiations.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The leaders of the two communities, namely President Anastasiades and Akinci, are currently engaged in UN-led talks with an aim to reunify the country under a federal roof.

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