Cypriots unite in vigil ahead of peace talks

NICOSIA (Reuters) – People on either side of divided Cyprus staged a candlelit vigil for peace yesterday on the eve of talks widely seen as a make-or-break chance for a settlement. In small but symbolic gatherings, Greek and Turkish Cypriots on opposing sides of the Ledra Palace checkpoint in Nicosia chanted peace songs and released doves in support of today’s talks. «We want to show and demonstrate our support for these talks and the reunification of Cyprus,» said Katy Clerides, daughter of Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and a supporter of grassroots contact between Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash launch open-ended talks in Nicosia today in a bid to reunite the island. Both sides are feeling the pressure for a settlement as Cyprus gears up for EU membership. «Both sides should not hesitate on the way to a common solution,» said a statement by This Country is Ours, a group which brings together Turkish-Cypriot trade unions and leftist parties.

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