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Greek and Turkish-Cypriot leaders discuss a resumption of peace talks

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By Philip Pangalos
Greek and Turkish-Cypriot leaders discuss a resumption of peace talks

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades talked of a friendly and positive atmosphere after meeting with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in the UN zone of the divided island, as the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities met to discuss the resumption of peace talks.

President Anastasiades said the terms of reference of a future negotiation were discussed in detail, as well as developing the idea of a decentralisation of powers.

The Cypriot President did not fail to raise issues of the occupational status, which as he said "pollute the atmosphere" in the Cyprus issue, indicatively referring to the exploration of natural resources in the eastern Mediterranean and Turkish provocations in Cyprus' Exclusive Economic Zone.

The President of the Cypriot Republic spoke about obsessions about certain positions that remain, noting that the issue of security for all the Cypriots cannot be ignored and he referred again to the Turkish troops on the island.

The Greek Cypriot side has stated many times that in order to really go back to settlement talks, both sides should be willing to discuss all issues.

"The issue is the insistence on positions. We have said that we cannot fail to recognise the issue of security, which includes guarantees and rights and a military presence. I have raised issues concerning acts of the occupational status that pollute the general atmosphere," President Anastasiades told reporters.

According to Mr Anastasiades, the Turkish-Cypriot leader did not rule out discussions concerning a decentralisation of powers, insisting, however, that the Turkish-Cypriot community will have to retain the right of a positive vote on each decision.

"We have agreed that there will be further discussions, not for the acceptance of a positive vote, but as to the details concerning decentralisation," the Cypriot President added.

According to a UN statement, the two leaders, who met at the residence of Elizabeth Spehar, Special Representative and Deputy Special Adviser on Cyprus to the United Nations Secretary-General, discussed and agreed on confidence building measures for telecommunications and electricity. This concerns the operation of separate agreements between suppliers in both regions and interconnection with regard to electricity networks. In particular, they decided to make an interim agreement on the supply of electricity.