Cyprus's president: peace agreement needs to be watertight for vote

Cyprus's president: peace agreement needs to be watertight for voteCyprus's president said he would not be willing to put any peace deal to a popular vote unless he was convinced a blueprint for reuniting estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriots would work, Reuters reported on Friday.

President Nicos Anastasiades told Reuters a lasting deal would be in the interests of Turkey, which has had troops stationed on the northern third of the island since a war in 1974.

Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will resume peace talks on April 11 after a two-month interruption. United Nations mediators hope that will lead to a deal which would then be put to a referendum.

"If I am not satisfied that what we are trying to achieve meets our expectations, and (those of) both communities, then I would not be willing to put it before the people," said Anastasiades, whose five-year term ends next February. He has not said if he will stand again.

"It must be a balanced deal, which doesn't create the feeling of ... one side winning over the other," he added.

Cyprus has been split since 1974 when a brief coup triggered a Turkish invasion. The subsequent stalemate has been a source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and an obstacle to Turkey's ambitions to join the European Union.

Led by Akinci and Anastasiades, the two sides are now trying to forge a new partnership based on a federation.

Recent hydrocarbons discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean, where energy potential has not been fully developed, are another incentive to find a deal.

"We have excellent relationships with our neighbours. A possible solution on Cyprus would facilitate Turkey's plans, either concerning supplies in its internal market or converting Turkey into an energy hub," said Anastasiades.

Regarded as a moderate, Anastasiades has frequently tried to temper expectations of a quick fix to divisions that have defied many previous mediators.

"There might be other opportunities, but the issue there is what solution it would lead to," he said.

"In any case that doesn't depend on the Greek Cypriot side ... It depends on the resolve and the sincere intent also of the other side," he added.
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