NEWS

Nicosia seeks foreign mediation

Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias has sent a letter to heads of state and international organizations, seeking their mediation to promote the discussion of his proposals for a solution to the Cyprus problem, it emerged over the weekend. The Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros reported that Christofias addressed his letter to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the heads of state of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, Russia, France, Britain and the US), European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. In his letter, Christofias – whose talks with Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu have all but stalled – asks the officials to urge Turkish-Cypriot authorities to discuss his proposals. One proposal sees the port of Famagusta in the Turkish-occupied north of Cyprus being opened to direct trade under the auspices of the European Union in exchange for the return of the area of Varosia to Greek Cypriots. Eroglu has ruled this out. Last week Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou praised Christofias’s efforts. «This shows he is one step ahead in initiatives to solve the Cyprus problem,» he said. «As far as Greece and Turkey are concerned, Cyprus can either divide or unite us,» he added.