Cyprus leader calls for peace

Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias on Saturday took advantage of a high-profile trip by visiting Pope Benedict XVI to condemn Turkey’s occupation of northern Cyprus, noting that stability in the region was at risk. «The international community must exert its influence on Turkey,» Christofias said. «Otherwise, justice and stability in the whole area of the eastern Mediterranean will be jeopardized.» Christofias, who last month resumed stalled peace talks with the new hard-line leader of the Turkish Cypriots, Dervis Eroglu, told the pope that Cyprus has been «experiencing the painful military occupation of more than 36 percent of its territory» since its invasion by Turkey in 1974. The pope, leaving the island yesterday after a three-day visit, described the division of Cyprus as «distressing.»