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Anastasiades to brief National Council and nation

President Nicos Anastasiades was briefing the members of the National Council on Monday on the events that unfolded during the failed negotiations in Crans-Montana and was set to address the nation in a televised broadcast later in the day.

The National Council got underway at 10am on Monday morning where Anastasiades was set to brief the party leaders over what unfolded during the marathon negotiations at the Swiss resort recently.

A televised address to the nation will follow later in the afternoon by President Anastasiades during which he will again put down the Greek Cypriot side’s version of events from the talks.

Government Spokesperson Nikos Christodoulides said that “new suggestions for the talks” would also be tabled during the meeting.

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Meanwhile in Athens at 5pm, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias will convene the National Council on Foreign Policies at the Foreign Ministry to also brief members on the events in Crans-Montana. Opposition party Akel head Andros Kyprianou is expected in Greece in the afternoon to meet with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.

A week of UN-mediated talks in the Swiss Alps culminated in a “yelling and drama” session that leaves unresolved a conflict that has kept Greece and Turkey at loggerheads and has hampered Ankara’s hopes of joining the European Union.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived estranged since a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek inspired coup. Major natural gas discoveries in the region over the past decade had added impetus to efforts to secure a deal.

Turkey has 30,000 troops stationed in the north of the island and their status in any post-settlement peace deal proved to be the undoing of a process one diplomat lamented came “so, so close” to succeeding.

During the intense talks, diplomats said Turkey had offered little to Greek Cypriots wanting a full withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island. Indications which had emerged on Thursday that Turkey was considering relinquishing intervention rights vanished when the Greek side asked for that commitment in writing.

The Greek Cypriots had been ready to make conditional concessions on Turkish Cypriot demands for a rotating presidency, the other key issue. Their plan was submitted in writing.

“I don’t know where it may go from here,” a diplomatic source told Reuters.

That source found fault with Turkish Cypriots for being “a bit greedy” and “overplaying their hand”, but also Greek Cypriots, who possibly made a tactical error in asking for a written commitment from Turkey relinquishing its intervention rights before a deal had been agreed.

“I just don’t think there is a sense of trust there. We were really, really close,” the diplomatic source added.

Another source close to the Greek side said Turkey had refused to deliver on earlier indications made to the United Nations that it would be “flexible” on intervention rights.

When the United Nations suggested those points be summarised, paving the way for a possible meeting between the prime ministers of Turkey, Greece and Britain – the guarantor powers – next week in New York, Ankara balked.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu then said those rights could possibly be subject to a review in 15 years, two sources said.
“We didn’t see that flexibility,” the source close to the Greek side said.

A downcast Antonio Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, who had flown in on Thursday to help clinch a deal, said the world body remained at the disposal of the sides to facilitate any future engagement.

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