Spehar “continues to talk to both sides”

On Tuesday, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, said she was continuing to talk with both sides as the issue of a possible dinner between the two leaders remains up in the air.

Spehar met with Cypiot President Nicos Anastasiades in the Presidential Palace in Nicosia, with the meeting focusing on  setting up a social dinner between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, for which there have been rumors but no actual developments.

After the meeting, government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said the UN was continuing its efforts to arrange a social meeting between the leaders and highlighted Anastasiades’ willingness to meet socially Akinci without preconditions.

According to a statement issued by the Presidential Palace, Anastasiades will leave on Wednesday for Brussels in order to attend the European Council, which will be held on 22-23 March.

The EU leaders are expected to decide this week whether Ankara meets the conditions for convening a meeting on EU-Turkey relations in the Bulgarian city of Varna on the 26th of March or not. It is worth noting that on February Anastasiades informed his European counterparts about the Turkish actions within the Cypriot EEZ, which ultimately caused the ENI drillship to leave, but the CEO of the company reiterated that the Italian oil giant would not relinquish its interests in the region.

At the time, EU Council President Donald Tusk expressed solidarity with Cyprus and called on Turkey to terminate its activities. He also noted EU support for the sovereign right of Cyprus to explore and exploit its natural resources, in accordance with EU and international law, including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

According to Tusk, Ankara’s actions contradicted Turkey`s commitment to good neighbourly relations and their normalization with all member states and said the EU would assess Turkey’s behaviour at the March European Council as to whether the conditions were met, in order to hold the Leaders` Meeting with Turkey in Varna on the 26th of March.

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