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Cyprus leaders tackle power-sharing in Geneva peace talks

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades arrives for the second day of Cyprus peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo)
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades arrives for the second day of Cyprus peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (AP Photo)
| Associated Press | January 10, 2017 at 19:45

GENEVA: The leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus delved Tuesday into how power would be shared if the country is reunified as a federation, while a presidential spokesman said swift agreement was not expected on the remaining issues standing in the way of an accord.

During the second day of a summit at United Nations offices in Geneva, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci also were discussing how a federated Cyprus would function within the European Union and the country's economy.

A 1974 Turkish invasion, prompted by a coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece, split the island into a breakaway Turkish-speaking north and a Greek-speaking south. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence.

After 19 months of complex reunification negotiations, Anastasiades and Akinci agreed to meet in Geneva to clinch agreement on how much territory would go to each of the two, partially autonomous zones that would make up the country. They are expected to exchange maps detailing the respective zones' boundaries on Wednesday.

The talks will take on an international dimension Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey to hammer out agreement on post-reconciliation security arrangements.

Cyprus government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters during a break in the summit that the more progress Akinci and Anastasiades make, the better the chances the security talks will be successful.

He said that as the negotiations stood Tuesday,, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would not be attending Thursday's conference.

"No one expected that there would immediately be convergence or consensus on these issues," Christodoulides said. "They are difficult."

A key point of contention remained the concept of a rotating presidency. The Turkish Cypriots insist the future federation's presidency should alternate between the Greek and Turkish communities to ensure the reunified Cyprus would be a genuine partnership.

Greek Cypriots oppose the idea, saying that according political parity to the minority Turkish Cypriots would undermine democratic principles.



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