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Optimism in short supply at Geneva summit

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On the eve of a make-or-break UN-led conference to find common ground for the resumption of stalled Cyprus talks, the one thing missing is optimism that differences can be overcome.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades is in Geneva, Switzerland, heading a delegation to participate in the 5+1 informal meeting hosted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres from April 27-29.

The UN will attend the meeting, Cypriot leaders, the three guarantor powers, namely the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and the UK.

Government spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos told CNA that President Anastasiades is “positive” and will participate with a “creative spirit, to move forward with negotiations on the substance, aiming to achieve a Cyprus settlement.”

Koushos said that Anastasiades is ready for all possible developments and scenarios.

“We will be able to address any possible developments and any issues that will come up during the informal meeting.”

“We have repeatedly made it clear that we do not accept a two-state solution and that we are ready for a settlement within the UN framework, as determined by the UN Security Council resolutions and decisions.”

“We are the side…that wants a settlement that safeguards the interests and the concerns of both sides.”

Koushos said it was hard to be optimistic about the Geneva conference when Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots insist on a two-state solution for Cyprus.

“They are suggesting a settlement outside the UN framework that the EU cannot accept, and the vast majority of the international community…such as the USA.”

Koushos added: “If Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side continue to adopt these positions, we cannot be optimistic.

“However, experience has shown we must be ready to see the official positions that the Turkish side will table during the informal meeting.

“We heard similar positions by former Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, while former Turkish Cypriot leader, Dervis Eroglu, comes from the same party as the current Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar, had similar positions.

“However, they proceeded to negotiations with both Denktash and Eroglu on the essence of the Cyprus problem.”

The EU will be present in Geneva with a three-member delegation but not be part of informal meetings.  (source CNA)