Newly elected Cyprus president meets Turkish Cypriot leader

Newly elected Cyprus president meets Turkish Cypriot leader

Leaders of Cyprus’s estranged Greek and Turkish communities met on Thursday as a deadlock persisted in peace talks on the ethnically divided island.

The meeting was the first for newly elected Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, the new Greek Cypriot leader, and Ersin Tatar, the Turkish Cypriot leader.

They met on neutral ground in a United Nations-controlled buffer zone splitting the two sides in the divided capital, Nicosia, at the home of Canadian diplomat Colin Stewart who heads the peacekeeping mission on the east Mediterranean island.

The UN mission, UNFICYP, said the meeting was ‘open and constructive’.

“Mr Christodoulides and Mr Tatar addressed several issues, including the recent devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria that claimed thousands of lives, amongst them Turkish Cypriots, and they expressed their sympathy for the victims and their families,” the spokesperson for the mission said in a written statement.

No new meeting was set. Christodoulides said he had suggested a social meeting with Tatar and their spouses.

Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup, with Greek Cypriots living in its south and Turkish Cypriots in an unrecognized breakaway north. The last round of peace talks collapsed in 2017.

“The present state of affairs cannot be the solution to the Cyprus problem, not for Greek Cypriots, or Turkish Cypriots,” Christodoulides said after the two-hour meeting with Tatar.

Christodoulides, a former foreign minister in the outgoing center-right administration, won a closely fought election on Feb. 12 and will be sworn in on Feb. 28.

Centrist and right-wing parties supporting him have typically followed a hard line in reunification talks. Two of his backers reject the United Nations basis for the talks, which is uniting Cyprus under a loose federal umbrella, though Christodoulides has repeatedly stated he backs the UN framework.

Tatar, who is also a hardliner, says the only solution for Cyprus is a two-state one, with each side holding equal sovereign rights.

“I didn’t hear anything I didn’t expect from Mr Tatar,” Christodoulides said. “I expressed my readiness – and acknowledging the differences in approach and disagreements on basic issues – to do whatever I can to break the deadlock,” he said. [Reuters]


Subscribe to our Newsletters

Enter your information below to receive our weekly newsletters with the latest insights, opinion pieces and current events straight to your inbox.

By signing up you are agreeing to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.