NEWS

Anastasiades briefs Samaras on efforts to launch Cyprus talks

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades met on Friday morning with Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras for talks on a fresh effort to restart United Nations-mediated peace talks aimed at reunifying divided Cyprus.

Anastasiades indicated that Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders were close to drafting an "essential joint communique" that could provide the basis for a new round of talks aimed at reaching a "viable, lasting and functional settlement" on the island that respects human rights and European Union laws. "It is likely we will soon finalize a joint statement," the Cypriot leader told a joint press conference with Samaras. "The hard bit will be what comes after the joint communique," he said.

The Greek premier, for his part, described the Cyprus problem as "the top-ranking issue of Greek foreign policy" and reiterated the country's support for Cyprus. He said it remained a "common goal" to end "the island's illegal Turkish occupation" and welcomed a joint communique which, he said, should be put to simultaneous referendums to both the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot communities.

On Thursday, an announcement from the office of Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu said, "we appear to be at the final stage of efforts that started quite a while ago to continue negotiations and draft a joint statement."

The Turkish Cypriot press reported that the aim is for Eroglu to meet Anastasiades on Monday.

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