Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades has spoken to the new Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci with a view to restarting reunification talks after Sunday’s run-off elections in the occupied part of the island.
Anastasiades and Akinci affirmed their commitment to the island’s reunification, the Cypriot president’s office said on Sunday night.
“The selection of Mustafa Akinci is a hopeful development for our common homeland,” tweeted Anastasiades. “I look forward to have a meeting with him.”
“The Republic of Cyprus welcomes the choice of Mustafa Akinci as the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, a man who through his public discourse and declarations, has referred to the need for reunification of the country,” government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told the island’s news agency.
Akinci, a moderate leftist standing as an independent, won 60.3 percent of the votes. His rival was incumbent president Dervis Eroglu, a conservative elected five years ago.
Peace talks on the island were suspended last October when Anastasiades walked out following Turkey’s decision to send the Barbaros research vessel into Cyprus’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
Speaking to Reuters on Saturday, Akinci said natural gas finds in the eastern Mediterranean represented a «new dynamic» that could benefit countries in the region, and that confidence-building measures were needed between the two sides.
“There is a possibility for all sides to win,» he said.