The dinner between President Anastasiades and aspiring future Turkish Cypriot leader Kudret Ozersay, that was revealed by Kathimerini on Sunday was confirmed by both the Turkish Cypriot side and the President of the Republic on Tuesday.
The two sides said that the dinner was of a social nature.
Kathimerini sources said the two men discussed the situation with natural gas and the Maronite community. At the same time, the move by President Anastasiades to meet the Turkish Cypriot "foreign minister" raised eyebrows as Ozersay remains an opponent of a federal solution and the main political rival of Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, Ozersay did not inform Akinci in advance of the meeting. Ozersay rebuffed criticism by Mustafa Akinci's spokesman Baris Burcu for going ahead with the meeting without prior consultation with Akinci.
President Anastasiades also came under pressure to justify the purpose of the meeting. ''I don’t think I need permission as to who I am having dinner with especially when it comes to a meeting of a social nature'', said Anastasiades. The dinner was arranged following an invitation by Yiannakis Mousa, the Maronite community's representative in Cypriot Parliament, declared Anastasiades.
The meeting occurred shortly before Turkey escalated tensions in the region by beginning to drill for natural gas in the Cypriot EEZ.
"It is now time to take a tangible step for Varosha'', Ozersay was quoted as saying yesterday, announcing a decision to set up a team of experts to enter the enclosed city of Famagusta to carry out "scientific recording" of property.
Yesterday Cyprus and Greece sought to secure EU sanctions against Turkey for violating international law in the Cypriot EEZ. The events effectively halted Turkey - EU rapprochement initiatives.
At a foreign affairs summit in Brussels EU governments pointed out that Turkey’s EU membership negotiations have come to a halt, while adding that no further work toward the modernization of the EU-Turkey customs union is foreseen.