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Bridgeable differences

Peace talks have reached a point where differences on all four aspects discussed so far (governance, properties, European affairs and economy) are manageable, diplomatic sources close to the negotiations told the Cyprus Weekly.

The positive outcome has boosted confidence in Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci camps that the two teams could reach acrossthe board negotiations with fair chances of success.

Provided of course the leaders will extensively discuss in June and July the remaining aspects of territorial adjustments, security and guarantees with the aim of producing a similar understanding as in the previous chapters.

Insiders said that, despite the rhetoric, the Greek Cypriot side does not exclude the possibility of holding Dayton-style talks abroad, a conclave type of constant negotiations to close territory, property and guarantees. President Anastasiades has not rejected the proposal tabled by Akinci. We understand, though, that the Greek Cypriot side will agree to this type of negotiation only if success is feasible.

Bridgeable differences
A source close to the talks told the Cyprus Weekly that negotiators, Andreas Mavroyiannis and Ozdil Nami have brought existing differences in the above four chapters to a point they deem as “bridgeable”. Anastasiades and Akinci now need to intensively explore common ground on territory and security guarantees.

During their past meetings, the leaders have already started brainstorming on these two chapters and we understand that their initial effort is encouraging.

The Turkish factor
Diplomats acknowledge that ,despite their good will, Anastasiades and Akinci can only take the Cyprus problem to a certain point. And then it’s up to Turkey to make some moves instrumental to closing a deal.

Ankara should stop pressing the Turkish Cypriot authorities to begin mass naturalisation of settlers, mainland Turks living and working in the northern part of the island.

Turkey could also show its determination to solve the problem by writing off the sizable Turkish Cypriot debt. And of course allow Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots to reach a win-win arrangement on territory and guarantees.

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