Cypriots tackle power sharing

Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat yesterday resumed the second phase of a new peace drive, exchanging proposals on the thorny issue of how power will be shared on a united Cyprus. The talks, launched just over a year ago, had been due to resume last week but were postponed following a dispute over an annual pilgrimage by Cypriots to the island’s Turkish-occupied north. The United Nations envoy appointed to mediate in the talks, Alexander Downer, was cautiously upbeat. «The leaders discussed bridging proposals in relation to the executive… to the election of the president and vice president of the united republic,» Downer said. But the envoy stressed the importance of momentum. «They have to carry the process forward… and that is what they are doing, so we are pleased with the way it’s progressing,» he said. Members of the so-called «Elders Initiative» for global conflict resolution – the brainchild of former South African President Nelson Mandela – arrived in Nicosia yesterday for talks with community leaders. Veteran UN adviser Lakhdar Brahimi and former Norwegian Premier Gro Harlem Brundtland had previously visited Athens, where they met with Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis, and Ankara before that.