Leaders’ festive meeting produces no joy

1 min read

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar met at an UN-hosted festive reception, but there was little to cheer about on the Cyprus issue.

During Wednesday’s end-of-year reception at Ledra Palace, in the Nicosia buffer zone, the two leaders had a 10-minute discussion with UN head of mission Colin Stewart.

Afterwards, the two leaders had a photo opportunity with Stewart, during which they shook hands but made no statements.

Anastasiades and Tartar have not held face-to-face Cyprus talks — the last time they met socially was in April.

In his address during the reception, Stewart stressed the need to keep the dialogue open, despite disagreements.

“There is still plenty of potential to resolve the Cyprus issue, and, regardless of the challenges, the UN in Cyprus will not relax our efforts to help the two sides arrive at common ground.”

He hoped it would not be the last time Anastasiades and Tatar met, given that the former’s term of office ended soon, and thanked Anastasiades for his cooperation.

Stewart said that while this was a challenging year, there have been positive achievements.

He noted that a pre-feasibility study on waste management of electronic and electrical equipment was completed and that the Green Line Regulation trade volume increased.

Moreover, he said that both sides put forward confidence-building/cooperation proposals and that elements of these proposals have figured prominently in his discussions with the Turkish Cypriot Special and the Greek Cypriot negotiators.

“We are continuing to explore possibilities for moving forward with initiatives that find common ground.”

He also underlined that crossing points illustrate the benefits of increased contact, adding that such contacts remain vital to keeping hope alive of a mutually agreeable resolution to the Cyprus issue.

As regards confidence-building measures, the permanent interconnectivity of the electricity grids, mobile phone interoperability and the opening of new crossing points were achieved.

“As we look forward to continuing our cooperation in the New Year, it will be ever more critical, as the two leaders have just discussed, to keep the dialogue open, despite disagreements and despite any obstacles.

“The work that you all do is extremely important and highly commendable.”