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Solution needs finance, say leaders

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci called on the international community to lend financial support to a settlement of the longstanding Cyprus problem during a joint session at the global World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday.

“We do hope that we shall have the support of the international community at large, particularly as regards substantially contributing to meet the financial aspects of the solution,” said Anastasiades.

Echoing his counterpart, Akinci said: “A strong, collective, international support shall be needed in terms of technical and financial assistance.”  The financial viability of the solution, as well as unambiguous implementation, were a key focus for Anastasiades, along with the key negotiation issues such as security, territory, property and governance.

Happy with Ban

Insiders told the Cyprus Weekly that Anastasiades was also happy to meet the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in person so that he could be “really briefed” on the situation.

Anastasiades and Akinci also joined the UN Secretary-General and his Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide for a working lunch (picture).

“It is clear from the discussion that followed that the UN Secretary General has now obviously a better picture of what is really taking place at the negotiating table,” said government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides.

According to our sources, Anastasiades read out a four-page document on where he sees the state of play in the talks. The document noted that progress had been made but there were “significant problems” in property, as well as territory, where discussions have just started.

Akinci commented that he wanted the issues of territory and guarantees to be discussed at the end of the process, while Anastasiades argued that they had started discussing territory now so they should continue.

Noting that it was the first meeting of the UN chief with these two leaders, the Secretary-General said: “It was a very good opportunity for me to hear directly from them about their efforts since they resumed negotiations in May 2015.”

Security focus

“I also call on all interested international players, especially the guarantor powers, to do their utmost to facilitate and support the leaders in their quest for overcoming the division of Cyprus,” Ban said.

During the meeting Anastasiades repeated his position about the need for a Chapter 7 UN mandate in the immediate post-settlement period – something which would give UN peacekeepers greater intervention rights in case of trouble.

The official word is that Anastasiades will not be meeting Davutoglu in Geneva. After his own meeting with the Secretary-General, Davutoglu was at pains to claim that Anastasiades and Akinci were at Davos on an equal basis.

Anastasiades may get some help from US Vice-President Joe Biden, however, who will be travelling to Ankara this weekend for meetings with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

During their one-hour discussion, according to our sources, Biden said he would talk to Turkey about guarantees.

The energy angle

Biden also brought with him Amos Hochstein, the Special Envoy, Bureau of Energy Resources in the US State Department. A solution of the Cyprus problem is seen by Washington as a boost for hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean region. On Wednesday Anastasiades met the head of energy giant ENI and today is due to meet the head of Total.

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