Cypriot President Anastasiades cites territory issue for collapse of peace talks

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday he rejected a proposal by the Turkish-Cypriot side to connect the issue of territory with the issue of security and third-party guarantees.

Speaking at a televised press conference, Anastasiades said he does not want to start a blame game over the collapse of the two-day talks in the Swiss town of Mont Pelerin, but added “he will not allow the responsibility to weight on the Greek-Cypriot side”.

“The agreement achieved in the first phase of Mont Pelerin was crystal clear,” he said, noting that the two sides would discuss the three criteria – territory, the return of refugees and the coastlines. In the first phase, they agreed on some territorial adjustments, he explained, but in the second round they failed to narrow their differences. Despite the current impasse, Anastasiades announced he’s ready to continue negotiations with the Turkish-Cypriot side and thanked Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras for the “undivided support”.

The Cypriot leader will discuss developments on the phone with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on 22:00 (Greek time), while earlier he spoke with U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

In a written statement, Ban Ki-moon urged both leaders to “do their utmost to overcome this obstacle and finalize the promising work undertaken in Mont Pelerin” and avoid statements and actions that will hinder the resumption of talks.