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Crucial Day for Cyprus talks: What does it take to deliver a breakthrough?

Ilhan Tanir, Washington DC

Over a week now, all sides at the Alpine resort of Crans Montana in Switzerland for conference on Cyprus.

Those who closely involved with the talks have still hopes for an interim agreement. One source stated ‘the puzzle can be solved and Cyprus reunified…  Today is crucial.”

Today, High Representative of the European Union Frederica Mogherini arrived Crans Montana and the UNSG Gutierrez is present as well. Gutierrez apparently gave pens to the heads of the delegations; a rather symbolic gift. Meanwhile the Swiss Government sent chocolates to the delegations. As one commented, it appears the host is trying to get the oxytocin pumping.

Thursday is going to be a long day/night for the talks. Turkish FM Mevlüt Çavusoglu may want to hold out on the “sunset clause” (for more information, link to previous piece) for troop withdrawal and abolition of guarantees until the very end. But now that Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has tabled rotating presidency on a common ballot (i.e. Greek and Turkish Cypriot politicians running together for the Presidency), Ankara may have no choice but to play ball.

Good news about the talks that the leaks have stopped again after a brief spat in the beginning of the week. Therefore,  so no one really knows what is happening behind closed doors. And this is also a good news.

Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot President Akinci spoke to US Vice President Mike Pence this morning (Pence’s intiative). According to realiable sources talked to Washington Hatti, apparently Anastasiades asked that Trump speak to Erdogan during the G-20 summit. According to White House statement:

Vice President underscored to the leaders the United States’ strong support for the Conference on Cyprus taking place in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.  The Vice President urged President Anastasiades and Mr. Akinci to seize this historic opportunity to reunify the island and expressed his confidence in both leaders’ ability to secure a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation to the benefit of all Cypriots.

The American VP also spoke with Mogherini last night.

It will get serious once the international broadcasters start covering the story though.  For now, they’ve barely even acknowledged what’s happening. CNN and others have barely mentioned this historic talks.

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