Cypriot community leaders to have crucial negotiation session

NICOSIA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The leaders of the estranged Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus will hold what could be their most crucial meeting on Wednesday in the two-year long negotiations to reunify Cyprus.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have to decide whether to call it quits or to embark on a final push to end the 43-year long partition of Cyprus, sources familiar with the negotiating process said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

Anastasiades and Akinci have made unprecedented progress in their negotiations, but have become stuck in the past few months on two points -- the allocation of powers between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots and the termination of Turkish military presence in Cyprus.

Turkish Cypriots insist on having veto power on almost all issues of the federal government, a claim which Anastasiades says will lead to the dissolution of the state in no time.

Anastasiades has said he would not put an agreement to a referendum for approval by the people that would not provide for the eventual withdrawal of Turkish troops that have occupied the northern part of Cyprus since 1974, in reaction to a coup by the military rulers of Greeceat the time.

"The negotiations have reached a point at which the leaders must decide whether there is still room for maneuvering or to declare the negotiations deadlocked," the source said, commenting on Wednesday's meeting.

Espen Barth Eide, the United NationsSecretary-General's special adviser on Cyprus, has been reported to be planning a fresh international conference this summer to tackle the military and security aspects of the problem.

But Anastasiades said he would not oppose reconvening a conference which floundered in November, provided that all other issues will have been resolved, including power sharing and final territorial adjustments.

Eide presided over a meeting of the chief negotiators of the two sides on Tuesday aimed at preparing the leaders' session.

State television reported that they prepared a detailed document listing points of concurrence and divergences and also examined whether any points of agreement were in conflict with European Union(EU) rules.

[ Editor: meng ]


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