42-16335682Peace Talks Resume Next week

Cyprus leaders will launch four day-long face-to-face sessions between February and March to close gaps on the economy, property and European affairs.

UN-led peace talks will resume on Wednesday , after a break of more than three weeks since the andof intensified negotiations.

The following marathon meetings will be held on March4, 16 and 30 .

However , the Turkish Cypriots are pushing for more meetings in March but said they have  not received a response from the government for such a request.

Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat is hoping to build up some momentum before the April 18 polis, where he facesan uphill struggle against hardliner Dervis Eroglu.

Talat is touring European capitals-he will be in Madrit next week following his Rome contacts-to garner international support for his peace credentials.

Two rounds of intensified talks in January only focused on power sharing and governance when it was hoped progress would also be made on the economy and EU matters.

The leaders will now revisit these two chapters and the prickly property issue as elections in the north loom.

EU affairs and the economy are considered the easiest of all the chapters where convergence and agreement is possible, but almost 20 meetings on the property have only managed to high light stark differences.

More chapters could be covered if there is time, although this seems unlikely judging by previous meetings.

Both President Christofias and Talat  have spoken to UN  Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of  decision to continue discussions despite the`election`.

Both Christofias and Talat gave their personal commitment to reach a Cyprus settlements as soon as possible during the landmark visit of Ban earlier this month.

The UN chief has warned both leaders that a peace deal “will elude them without a further concentrated push”.

When the intensive talks phase ended the UN announced that significant progress had been made in areas of governance without going into details.

The government has also not  made public Christofias’s proposals on a rotating presidency,  weighted voting and Turkish settlers even though this has caused the coalition to split.

Government Spokesman Stefanos Stefanou  said the lack of a united front was not the best  situation for Christofias to be negotiating a settlement.

Peace talks were launched amid much optimism and fanfare in September 2008, but the two sides remain divided on the core issues of property, security and territorial adjustments.

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