President Christofias: more convergence expected in second round of talks
Nicosia, Aug 6 – President Demetris Christofias said that the second round of direct negotiations, between him and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, will be an effort to achieve more convergence.
Speaking to the press after his 40th meeting with Mr. Talat and the conclusion of the first round of the UN-led talks, President Christofias said he expected more progress during the first round of the talks, “but this does not mean that there has been no progress.”
“A round of negotiations has been concluded, both with convergences and divergences,” he said, adding that “the second round will be an effort to achieve more convergence.”
“We will begin with governance and more specifically with the issue of executive power. Certainly, there are also other issues in regards to governance that we will discuss during the second round. We will then pass to the issue of property and we will discuss issues one by one and move on. We will also sort out some of the issues in which the two sides will be close and these will be taken up by [Presidential Commissioner] George Iacovou and [Mr. Talat’s advisor] Ozdil Nami,” he added.
When asked to evaluate the first round of the negotiations, President Christofias said “there are issues of principles that we have discussed and on which we have agreed. There are also issues which I expected would proceed more rapidly and there would be more mutual understanding. So in the second round, there will be an effort to achieve more mutual understanding and I hope we will achieve this,” he added.
President Christofias noted that “we have undertaken initiatives because we really want a settlement of the Cyprus question” and reiterated that the solution must be based on principles, must be viable and functional.
On the UN role during the second round of the talks, President Christofias said the UN role will be the same.
When asked if there is optimism as regards the second round, President Christofias replied: “if we are pessimistic, then, as I have repeatedly said, we must all go home. We are cautiously optimistic and I would like to believe that in the course of the negotiations we shall become more optimistic to achieve the goal which we are pursuing with Mr. Talat” which is, as he noted, a settlement of the Cyprus problem.
The President was invited to comment on the first trial route of ambulances crossing from Limnitis, on the northwest, to Nicosia General Hospital in the southern government-controlled areas of the island and on a similar route from the northern Turkish occupied areas to Kokkina, on the northwestern part of the country.
“These journeys will take place and will continue. Mr. Nami and Presidential Commissioner Iacovou have agreed to visit the area, to follow this route to test it and I hope that we shall proceed, as soon as possible, in a very practical manner with the opening of the Limnitis crossing point,” President Christofias said.
On June 26, President Christofias and Mr. Talat reached an agreement to open the Limnitis crossing point and to provide access to and from Kokkina.
According to the agreement, ambulances will be able to visit Kokkina to carry sick persons. Reciprocally, Greek Cypriot ambulances will cross in the opposite direction to hospitals in Nicosia.