The maps on territory submitted by the two leaders were within the range agreed by both sides allowing today’s conference on security and guarantees to go ahead as planned, said government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides last night.
“It is the first time in the history of the negotiations this exchange has taken place,” Christodoulides told reporters after the two leaders swapped maps of a federal Cyprus, containing each side’s proposals on territorial adjustments.
“We consider this a particularly important development,” he said.
President Nicos Anastasiades later tweeted: “The submission of maps is a milestone in the history of the Cyprus problem. We consistently continue the effort of satisfying the expectations of the Cypriot people.”
With the Greek foreign minister Nikos Kotzias already in Geneva where negotiations are under way to find a viable solution for the divided island of Cyprus, the EU Commissioner hinted that this might be a the ‘last chance’ for the reunification of Cyprus.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday discussed the ongoing Cyprus negotiations on the telephone. Junker expressed hope that the talks on Cyprus will have a happy outcome within the next days and hours, repeating that the leaders of the island’s two communities were doing “excellent work”.
“The time has come for the reunification of the island,” Juncker said in a press conference with Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in Valetta, where he was present for the official launch of Malta’s stint in the EU’s six-month rotating presidency.
Meanwhile early reports about talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci who have been in meetings since Monday, suggested significant progress had been made on territorial issues.
According to Turkish media prior to his departure for Geneva, Akinci had told reporters than the Turkish-Cypriot north would continue on its own way if a solution was not reached.
“…this is the first time after 1974 that we are in the very last minute before an exchange of maps on the basis of what has been agreed between the two leaders,” confirmed Cyprus government spokesperson Nicos Christodoulides.
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci were meeting again later yesterday afternoon to continue talks on territorial issues and, if they agreed, then each side will submit its own map and these will be examined by experts if they reflect what has been agreed.
The international meeting on the Cyprus issue will take place at the UN headquarters in Switzerland today.