Although Cypriot leaders know the current format of negotiations has been exhausted and the only way forward is to take the talks to the final give-and-take, they have different approaches as to how this transition should take place.
The tripartite meeting the two leaders held with the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last Sunday in New York was a disappointment for the Turkish Cypriot side since it did not produce a roadmap – even if just an unofficial and undisclosed one – about the next phase of negotiations.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had gone into the meeting hoping the sides would be able to jointly ask the UN Secretary-General to make the necessary preparations for a Greentree-type meeting abroad by the end of October.
Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades argued that the outcome of a third round of intensive negotiations back in Cyprus in the coming weeks would determine whether or not the sides can meet abroad for the big give-and-take.
UN Secretary General Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide, after Sunday’s much-debated meeting, underlined that the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides think exactly the same in terms of what should happen in the near future, but have different approaches as to how to talk about it.
Eide stated the sides would try to overcome the remaining differences in, and finalise the chapters of, governance and power-sharing, property, economy and European Union – possibly with the exception of rotational presidency – in the coming weeks.
Both sides know that they will have to meet abroad in a couple of weeks, Eide said.
Different views Political analysts, however, draw attention to the fact that the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides are not exactly on the same page as to the transition to a crunch phase abroad.
The Turkish Cypriot side wants to move the talks outside Cyprus as soon as possible, where the sides could begin discussing Territory without the risk of media leaks and speculation.
Guarantor powers Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom would then join the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot sides to seal a deal on security and guarantees.
The Greek Cypriot side wants the Turkish Cypriots to be more forthcoming on territory and give them a better sense or hints as to what kind of territorial arrangements they could accept, before they can agree to move the talks abroad.
It seems the weeks ahead will require Akinci and Anastasiades to be braver, and more determined than ever, to find ways of removing the obstacles blocking the final phase.
As many close to the negotiations have stated, what is needed now in the process, more than anything else, is leadership.