Reports of secret meetings and growing divisions over solution

The government on Monday did not comment on whether the president met with the Turkish foreign minister last Sunday week in New York, as reports suggested a ‘loose’ federation was now on the table as a form of settling the island’s division.

All of this is taking place against the backdrop of an increasingly public disagreement between President Nicos Anastasiades and ruling Disy leader Averof Neophytou who has held his own meeting with a Turkish Cypriot official for the second time this month.

On Monday, Anastasiades briefed party leaders about his recent meetings in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly but discussion of the issues will continue on October 23, according to the government spokesman.

The spokesman did not answer when asked whether Anastasiades had had a private meeting with Mevlut Cavusoglu in New York.

“The president fully briefed the political leaders on all his contacts and meetings. We must respect the process since discussion at the national council continues,” Prodromos Prodromou said. “National council discussions are confidential and this helps having better reflection.”

Daily Politis reported on Monday that Anastasiades met Cavusoglu last Sunday week in New York with the two sides tabling their views.

Without specifying its sources, Politis said Cavusoglu told the president that Turkey was toying with the idea of proposing a solution outside the UN parameters, namely a confederation.

On his part, the paper said, Anastasiades appeared to favour a loose federation solution, with decentralised powers for the two constituent states.

Meanwhile, the runup to the national council meeting on Monday was marked by a public disagreement between Anastasiades and Neophytou, who seems to be trying to distance himself from the president’s handling of the Cyprus issue.

In recent days, Neophytou has spoken of a national tsunami and a closing window of opportunity to solve the Cyprus problem, following it up in an interview with Kathimerini where he said that Greek Cypriots were gradually binning the bicommunal, bizonal federation as a form of solution.

His statements apparently irked Anastasiades who said on Saturday evening that he was tired of hearing about assessments and tsunamis.

“At some point we must realise that this state is set on following policies to bolster its status – and it does so continuously,” the president said. “At the same time, we are trying in every way to create the conditions and prospects for stable economic growth.”

Neophytou used Twitter to respond, telling Anastasiades that both of them had been accused of scare-mongering “simply because we were voicing our sincere concern for our country. And we will continue the fight for reunifying Cyprus. As regards economic growth, we also chipped in.”

However, Anastasiades may have an additional reason to be annoyed with Neophytou. On Sunday, the Disy leader met with Turkish Cypriot ‘foreign minister’ Kudret Ozersay in Kormakitis in the north.

It was the second meeting between the two in recent days, after they met in a New York café. Both meetings were publicised by the two men in identical tweets.

“Whether we agree on or not, dialogue is the only civilised way of moving forward. Following our meeting in New York, tonight I met with @AverofCY Averof Neofytou at Kormakitis at a friend’s house and we will continue to do so as leaders of our political parties,” Ozersay’s tweet said.

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