President Christofias and T/C leader Talat continue negotiations
Nicosia, Nov 17 - President of the Republic of Cyprus Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat met in Nicosia on Monday, in the framework of direct negotiations held since early September under UN auspices.
Independent offices, such as the office of the Federal Attorney General and the office of the Federal Auditor General as well as further discussion about the Supreme Court, were on the agenda of Monday's meeting between Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in the framework of direct negotiations, held since early September under UN auspices.
End of this year or beginning of 2009 the leaders of the two communities will start discussing the property issue at the ongoing direct negotiations, President Demetris Christofias said after today’s meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
This issue is not easy, he pointed out, although the principles on which the two leaders should rely on are in place, as he noted. “I am sure that we will face many issues that call for a lot of discussion,” he added.
Responding to questions at the Presidential Palace, President Christofias said that the meeting went fairly well and there was a friendly exchange of views.
Asked why there was no discussion on deadlock resolving mechanism today, he said “we discussed other issues. We had agreed to consult more experts on issues relating to the judiciary”.
At today’s meeting they discussed about independent offices, he added. The two sides put forward their positions on the issue, outlined the positions they agree on and agreed to continue the discussion at the working groups, comprising experts from both communities. “Beyond that there are issues to be discussed at the level of the leaders,” he explained.
President Christofias said that there are still issues to be discussed on this chapter.
He said issues already placed in “the basket of differences” can be retrieved for further discussion.
In a meeting last Friday, the aides of the leaders of the two communities, Mr. George Iacovou and Mr. Ozdil Nami, decided to bypass the issue of executive power and begin discussions on the legislative power. The meeting lasted over two hours and was held in the presence of the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor on Cyprus Alexander Downer and the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Cyprus Taye Brook Zerihoun. After the meeting, Mr. Iacovou pointed out that there was a significant number of issues agreed on, but noted that there were also thorny issues.
President Christofias and Mr. Talat previously met in Nicosia on Thursday in the presence of Mr. Downer in the UN controlled buffer zone. After that meeting, President Christofias said “generally speaking, yes, we have taken some steps forward.” “Today, Mr. Downer is justified in saying that more progress has been achieved than before,” the President said. Responding to questions, Christofias said “we have done well today, to a certain extent.”
He also noted that on Thursday he did not have a tête-à-tête meeting with Talat and added “having such private meetings is not an objective in itself. When necessary, we have such meetings.” President Christofias, in response to press questions, explained that there are many issues he wants to discuss before talks move on to an exchange on a dispute resolution mechanism, and subsequently the property issue. He expressed hope that by the end of the year, he and Mr. Talat will be able to “exchange our first positions and views on the property issue.”
President Christofias had also met with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat, on Tuesday, November 11th. Speaking after the meeting, President Christofias explained that in a difficult negotiating process there is convergence of views but also differences. He added that there is always convergence and disagreement but refrained from any further comment. “If we had the same positions right from the start, the problem would have been solved before we began,” he pointed out.
President Christofias said that “there must be convergence on the philosophy of the kind of state we want, on how unified, firm and functional this state will be and this is a topic we shall be discussing until the end.” Replying to questions, he explained that concluding discussion on one aspect of the Cyprus problem does not necessarily mean agreement on everything before another topic is discussed.
“When we talk about conclusion of a discussion on governance, we must not expect that we shall agree on everything and then we shall move on to the chapter on property,” he noted. At some stage, he went on to add, the two leaders will agree on the points of convergence, the common views and positions, where points of agreement and disagreement.
“All these will be put aside. Once we conclude the discussions on all the aspects of the Cyprus issue, then we shall go back to see what give and take we can achieve, where and how,” he said. President Christofias stressed that “this is the technique of the negotiation, as we have proposed it and there was no objection to this.”
Christofias said that weekly meetings have been arranged for the next 3 to 4 weeks. The next meeting is planned for Tuesday, November 25th.