President Christofias and Talat Conclude Discussions on EU Matters
Nicosia, Mar 11 - Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat held yesterday their discussions on EU issues and decided to refer technical issues to experts. The leaders will meet again on Tuesday to continue their discussions.
President Christofias has expressed hope that discussions on European Union matters, in the context of the ongoing UN-led direct negotiations, will have a positive outcome.
In statements after his 22nd meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, in the framework of the direct negotiations aiming to solve the Cyprus problem, and asked whether or not the discussion on EU matters would have a better outcome than the discussion on the issue of properties, President Christofias said that “this is what we have always hoped for and aim at.”
UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer has said that the leaders had first a tête-à-tête meeting for an hour and a half and then began discussions on EU matters.
“It was decided by the leaders that they would refer some of the technical, particular technical-legal issues to the experts, who will be meeting to discuss those further on both Friday and Monday. The leaders will meet again on Tuesday to review the work of the technical experts and have a further discussion on the EU matters,” he added.
Asked if the EU is participating in anyway in this particular phase of the process, Mr. Downer replied negatively, noting that the EU and none of the EU institutions are directly involved in the process at all.
“Of course they make their own representations and have their own discussions as it was illustrated by the visit about 3 or 4 weeks ago by Oli Rehn, the Commissioner for Enlargement. But they don't have any direct involvement in the discussions at all,” he added.
Asked whether it would facilitate the process if there was someone from the EU there, since this is a discussion on EU matters, Mr. Downer noted that, “The Republic of Cyprus is a member of the EU. The north is not part of the EU according to Protocol 10 of the Accession Agreement. So baring that in mind and baring in mind the political implications particularly throughout the EU the parties find operating as they do a more diplomatic and successful way to operate. I think that it is sort of understandable.”
Responding to another question, Mr. Downer said that the leaders have referred issues to technical experts who are in particularly legal experts because there are some legal questions to be answered and they need to be answered by technical people.
“So they are going to meet both on Friday, when there is also going to be a meeting of the representatives [of the leaders], and again on Monday to discuss these and then their report will be presented to the leaders on Tuesday. The leaders then will be able to consider the work that has been done on EU matters,” he added.
Asked if UN experts are among those technical experts, Mr. Downer replied negatively, adding that “the UN of course facilitates the process.”
He noted that the UN have already recalled some experts in the past to offer their assistance on constitutional matters, governance and power sharing matters, and on property questions.
“So we are bringing these people from time to time to reinforce our team. It is a very efficient way of operating in my view rather than having people who are permanently here, full-time employed, to bring in experts who know a tremendous amount about these issues,” he added.
Asked to comment on the outcome of yesterday’s meeting, President Christofias referred journalists to the statement after the meeting by UN Secretary General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus Alexander Downer.
“I think the statement made by Mr. Downer is clear. We still have a long way to go,” he said.
Asked if the contribution of EU experts is needed at this stage of the talks, President Christofias said that this will be considered during the course of discussions.