Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and newly-elected Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar are meeting on Tuesday evening for the first time since last month’s vote in the breakaway north.
But hopes that the meeting – under the auspices of the UN Secretary General’s special representative in Cyprus – will pave the way for a fresh round of reunification talks are dim.
To start with, the new Turkish Cypriot leader who is backed by Ankara, has already sent the message he will not negotiate on the already approved basis of a federal bi-communal, bi-zonal solution.
And that – just like Turkey’s leader Tayyip Erdogan, he eyes a two-state solution in Cyprus which is divided since a 1974 invasion by Ankara.
Turkey still maintains troops in the EU-member state and is the only country to recognise an illegal entity in the north.
Government spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said on Monday that the President hopes Tatar will show the necessary political that will create a more conducive climate for restarting the talks.
Koushos also said that the dinner will be a first, informal meeting so that the two leaders can get to know each other.
But, he added, Anastasiades will also “convey to Mr Tatar, his strong political will to respond positively to the call by the UN secretary-general for resuming the talks”.
He also said Anastasiades would raise the issue of the partial opening of the fenced area of Varosha as well and stress the need to UN Security Council resolutions on the issue.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month expressed readiness to provide his Good Offices mission for the resumption of talks and to build on the existing body of work.
He also expressed hope that this first informal contact would pave the way for fruitful discussions.
And he reiterated his commitment to explore with the two leaders as well as with the guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey and the UK – the possibility of launching an informal five-party plus UN summit at an appropriate stage.