Famagusta Mayor Alexis Galanos on Monday expressed cautious optimism on prospects for a Cyprus solution.
Galanos was speaking after he and members of the municipal council met President Nicos Anastasiades, who briefed them on the resumption of the talks last Friday, and on confidence building measures.
Famagusta residents on both sides of the divide staged a protest on Saturday for the opening of a crossing point at Dherynia to facilitate movement and increase contacts between the two communities.
After Monday’s meeting with Anastasiades, Galanos conceded that there was a better climate in place since the election of Mustafa Akinci as the new Turkish Cypriot leader but cautioned that it would be a matter of ‘wait and see’ what the stance of the Turkish side would be at the negotiating table.
Both leaders have agreed to discuss low-level confidence building measures (CBM) in parallel with the talks that would include the opening of new crossing points.
The issue of the opening of the fenced-off ghost town of Varosha was also part of the overall Cyprus negotiations, he said, but it couldn’t happen overnight
“But I want to stress that apart from the Famagusta issue, we are interested of course in the overall solution of the Cyprus problem, the withdrawal of Turkish troops, the creation of conditions of peace so that our children can have a better future,” he said.
The return of Famagusta could serve as one more tool that would contribute to the effort to reach a solution, he added.
“The president told us the issue has not disappeared,” Galanos said.