“Frank and open exchange of views” during the Anastasiades-Akinci dinner

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, held a frank and open exchange of views the UN said on Monday after the much-awaited dinner. It was the first time in two years the two leaders met after the collapse of the talks in Crans-Montana, Switzerland last July.

The dinner was hosted by UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar at the chief of mission’s residence in the buffer zone, and its stated goal was to try and kick-start the resumption of Cyprus talks.

The Greek Cypriot side made it clear the dinner would not have an agenda and was not part of the negotiations and as such the leaders would be free to raise any issues they wanted.

Following the dinner, Spehar said in a brief written statement that the two leaders “had a frank and open exchange of views during a two hour tête-à-tête discussion”.

During Anastasiades’ return to the Presidential Palace, he said that no side would object to the possibility of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointing a special envoy to look into the possibilities of a new dialogue, and this would determine if a new preparatory period could be launched.

He, too, added that no side would object to the possibility of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appointing a special envoy to look into the possibilities of a new dialogue, and this would determine if a new preparatory period could be launched.

Akinci, he said, raised the issue of a joint committee to deal with the management and exploitation of natural resources. Anastasiades said he responded that there was no question of it being discussed at the negotiation table “either the postponement of the energy program or that of the joint committee”.

Anastasiades said that there was discussion on whether one or the other side insists on some positions, but that there was no detailed dialogue or negotiation. Asked if there was common ground at the meeting, he said “only if you consider common ground to be the realisation that both sides stuck to their positions”.

Akinci did not immediately make any comments after the dinner but reiterated on Sunday that if there was political will, “there can be a way out of the current deadlock”.

Speaking at an event, he said he was working for lasting peace, adding that he did not have great expectations from the dinner but neither did he want to present a pessimistic picture of the future.
He also said that both communities had suffered in the past and wanted future generations to live in peace and share the wealth of the island.

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