Turkish-Greek Cypriots to relaunch talks after long pause

Monday, February 10, 2014

Community leaders on the divided island will issue a joint statement Tuesday on status of settlement.

Community leaders on the divided island will issue a joint statement Tuesday on status of settlement.

ANKARA - Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades are to hold a UN-mediated meeting on Tuesday as part of a new initiative to resolve the long-standing political dispute on the divided island.

Eroglu and Anastasiades are expected to issue a joint declaration on the path towards reunification.

The meeting will be the first in eighteen months after the last bout of talks stumbled due to Europe`s economic crisis and elections on the Greek Cypriot side.

The leaders announced last week that they agreed on a text that outlines how the talks should move forward. It recommends recognizing the equal status of the two states, while aiming to bring the divided communities closer under a federated government.

The two sides hope to reach a comprehensive plan by the end of the negotiations. The plan would then be discussed within the communities and put to separate referendums.

A 2004 deal put forward by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities was defeated by a ‘no’ vote in a Cyprus-wide referendum. Intermittent talks have since been inconclusive due to political and economic reasons.

TRNC Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami on Monday stressed the importance of approaching the talks "in good faith."

"If we can draw lessons from the past and show a commitment to reach a federal solution, referendums on both sides for a comprehensive plan could become a reality as a result of the negotiation process. This would take months, not years."

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday the Turkish Cypriot side had displayed the political will to resolve the long-standing issue of division between Turkish and Greek Cypriots.

"This problem cannot last for decades. This time there has to be a lasting resolution for Cyprus," he said.

The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the European Union and recognized internationally except by Turkey. Only the Republic of Turkey recognizes the TRNC.

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