NEWS

Cyprus deal could be reached by year-end, gov't spokesman says

TAGS: Cyprus, Diplomacy

A deal to reunify Cyprus, divided since 1974 into Greek and Turkish enclaves, could be reached by the end of the year, the island’s government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides has said, according to reports.

“Our aim is to reach a comprehensive settlement, in line with European Union law, values and principles, as soon as possible, and if feasible within 2016,” Bloomberg quoted Christodoulides as saying on Wednesday.

A plan to reunite the island, proposed by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2004, was rejected by Greek Cypriots in a referendum a week before they joined the European Union.

Christodoulides said any new proposal would have to address all the components of a settlement, including what day 1 of reunification would look like and the financial viability of the federal state, according to the report.

“We want to avoid repeating the mistakes made then, which led to the ‘No’ vote,” Christodoulides was quoted as saying.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, were meeting at a UN compound Wednesday to outline the points the agree and disagree on before launching stepped-up talks later this year.

Turkey invaded northern Cyprus in 1974 in response to a brief Greek-backed coup in Nicosia by Greek-Cypriot hardliners seeking union with Athens. The Mediterranean island has been divided ever since.

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