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Leaders review next steps.

In their first meeting of the year, the leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities examined the future course of the reunification talks and did not focus on the thorny issue of property, President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday.

On his return to the presidential palace after his meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, which lasted around 3.5 hours, Anastasiades said property had not been the focus of their talks.

"It was a very productive meeting that gave us the opportunity to examine the forthcoming course so as to concentrate on all outstanding issues in a bid determine where we agree and where there are differences," Anastasiades said.

After doing so, the aim is to gradually, and according to a work plan, "see how it is possible to achieve the desired solution."

Anastasiades tiptoed around a question on whether there was room for bridging the differences — mainly on fundamental issues — based on the positions tabled by the two sides.

"What there is, and it is the most important thing, is mutual understanding of the difficulties faced by one or the other community," he said.

He added: "Everything should be based on principles and not predefined positions."

Consequently, he said, this was where attention was focused, to avoid creating an impression that one community imposed its agenda on the other without considering the latter's concerns.

"The climate is positive, provided that positions that are not in line with the basic principles of a viable, functional solution would be overcome with proposals that reflect the real state of affairs and not the problems emerging from the past," Anastasiades said.

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Publication:Cyprus Mail (Cyprus)
Date:Jan 7, 2016
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