Government Spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said on Friday evening that the Greek Cypriot side considers that the goal of reaching an agreement on the territory issue during talks that will take place later this month in Geneva is within reach.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci concluded on Friday their five-days negotiations in Mont-Pelerin on the territory and other outstanding issues interdependently. They decided to continue their talks on the territory in Geneva on November 20.
In his statements, Christodoulides said that the aim of the talks in Geneva is to have an agreement on the territorial adjustment criteria that will then be used to draw a map, so that the two sides can enter the final phase of the negotiations.
Asked about the prospects to achieve a comprehensive agreement on the territory issue in Geneva, Christodoulides said that this is their goal. “We consider that it is within reach. It will depend on the results of the dialogue. No one can determine what the final outcome will be,” he added.
The spokesman said that a constructive dialogue took place between the two leaders in Mont-Pelerin, noting that progress was achieved on the issues discussed.
The dialogue has not been concluded and it is for this reason that there was a decision, after a suggestion made by the President of the Republic, to adjourn the talks for one week and continue on November 20 in Geneva, he added
Asked if there was progress during the discussion on territorial adjustment criteria, Christodoulides said that there was progress but there are still issues that need to be further discussed or for which a more in depth exchange of views needs to be made.
He added that there has been a remarkable progress “that allows us to be optimistic.” Christodoulides also said that after returning to Cyprus, President Anastasiades will inform political party leaders about what happened in Mont Pelerin.
Asked how many days the talks in Geneva will last, he said that their initial decision is three days.
Invited to say if any map was put on the table, he replied in the negative recalling that the territory criteria have not been agreed yet. Neither side has tabled a map, he added.
Replying to another question, Christodoulides said that the talks could not continue the next two days as the leaders leave Mont-Pelerin on Saturday and so they decided to adjourn them.
Responding to another question, he said that there was progress in all the aspects of the territory issue, in the specific criteria, without however reaching an outcome.
Anastasiades and Akinci held discussions on Thursday and Friday in Mont-Pelerin on a joint document with each side`s positions on the territorial adjustment criteria. The Greek Cypriot side`s positions are written down in blue colour and the Turkish Cypriot side`s in red.
Invited to say if all those written in blue colour remain blue and those written in red remain red, the spokesman said that none of them has turned into black (convergences).
Asked why the talks will continue in Geneva, Christodoulides recalled that the Turkish Cypriot leader does not want to discuss the territory issue in Nicosia.
For us what is important is not the venue but to have a substantive discussion on this very important chapter and this is why it was agreed to continue abroad, he said.
Asked if Akinci brought up his demand to set a date for a five-party or a multi-lateral conference, Christodoulides replied in the negative adding that this issue was not discussed as there was no agreement on criteria that would be used to draw a map.
He said that what is important is not just to determine a date for the conference but to have such progress so that the conference has chances to succeed. Otherwise, he added, there will be a serious risk of failure, that will also threaten the process itself.
Replying to another question, he said that the two leaders exchanged views on the security issue during the tete-a-tete meeetings they had.
Answering another question, Christodoulides noted that the issue of the rotating presidency was not put on the table.
He said that he expects Anastasiades to be accompanied in Geneva by the same negotiating team as in Mont-Pelerin.
Invited to say if the goal to achieve a settlement in 2016 is still there, he said that if there was an agreement on Friday night it would have been closer.
Replying to another question, he said that there are issues in which there was no convergence between the sides and that the two sides` negotiators will continue their meetings in Cyprus.
Asked if any Greek or Turkish officials may be present in Geneva he said that this will not happen, adding however that he can only speak on the behalf of the Greek Government
Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led peace talks since May last year, with a view to reuniting Cyprus, divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion.
ENDS, CYPRUS NEWS AGENCY