Christodoulides seeks breakthrough with Tatar

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Newly elected President Nikos Christodoulides said he would do everything possible to achieve a result at Thursday’s meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

After casting his vote in Yeroskipou for the new Paphos bishop, Christodoulides said Cyprus talks should resume as soon as possible.

He told reporters that he will attend the meeting on February 23 “with absolute seriousness to see how we can break the impasse in the Cyprus problem.”

“I have repeatedly said that the current state of affairs cannot be the solution to the Cyprus problem and talks should resume as soon as possible, but it will be a first opportunity for a discussion.

“You go to every meeting with expectations.

“And be assured that from my side, I will do everything possible to achieve a result.

“Things are not easy; I know the situation very well, but that does not mean that we will not try from our side whatever is possible.”

He also pointed to the European Council, taking place on March 23, in Brussels, as an opportunity to get Europe involved.

“As we said during the pre-election campaign, there is a need for the European Union to help break the impasse by having a lead role and to restart the negotiations.”

Christodoulides offered his support to Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community over the catastrophic earthquake.

“Any event, even an earthquake, I believe it can indeed bring both countries closer”, he said, referring to relations between Athens and Ankara.

“We are not against strengthening relations between Ankara and Athens”.

But he argued, “full normalisation (of relations) cannot be achieved without a solution to the Cyprus problem.”

Asked if he seeks a meeting with the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who will be attending the working lunch at the European Council, Christodoulides said a message has already been conveyed to New York for such a meeting.

He said during his social meeting with Tatar, the UN Special Representative Colin Stewart will be present.

Asked about the status of a working document, Christodoulides said it is in the final stage, where “we explain why the EU can break the deadlock in Cyprus”.

“It is a document whose preparation started before the presidential elections; we are in the final stage.”