Cyprus Leaders in First Meeting Since Talks Collapse

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will meet tonight over dinner at their first encounter since settlement talks collapsed in Switzerland last July.

The meeting will take place at the residence of the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and Deputy Special Adviser on Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, in the UN-controlled buffer zone.

Akinci said on Sunday he did not have great expectations of the dinner but neither did he want to present a pessimistic picture of the future.

The Greek Cypriot side has made it clear the dinner would not have an agenda and is not part of the negotiations and as such the leaders would be free to raise any issues they wanted.

The purpose of the meeting is to only explore the possibility of resuming reunification talks.

A range of issues are confronting the two sides. Earlier this month Turkey sent the seismographic ship Barbaros for exploration, along with two support ships.

At the same time, Ankara issued a Navtex tying up a large maritime area, which includes part of Cyprus’ offshore Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The EEZ has seen repeated incidents between Turkish warships and energy exploration companies operating in Cypriot waters.