World Bulletin / News Desk
A planned meeting between rival Cypriot leaders scheduled for Thursday has been called off as a war of words over a nationalist commemoration in Greek Cypriot schools threatens reunification talks.
The row threatens nearly two years of UN-backed negotiations on ending the island's decades-old division that many had seen as the best chance for a settlement since Greek Cypriots rejected a UN reunification plan in 2004.
A meeting last Thursday broke up in acrimony with Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Akinci accusing each other of walking out.
The head of the UN peacekeeping force on the island, Elizabeth Spehar, had shuttled between the two sides to try to broker a compromise, meeting Akinci on Tuesday and Anastasiades on Wednesday but to no avail.
Anastasiades said the meeting's cancellation was regrettable and that he remained ready to return to the table.
"I regret the decision of Mr. Akinci not to attend the meeting tomorrow. I am ready to continue the dialogue at anytime," he said on Twitter.
Akinci's spokesman also confirmed the cancellation.
Tensions have soared over the February 10 approval by the Cyprus parliament for Greek Cypriot schools to commemorate a 1950 referendum on "Enosis", or union with Greece.
The unofficial referendum -- staged before Cyprus won independence from colonial ruler Britain -- overwhelmingly approved Enosis but had no legal value.
The amendment to schools legislation, sponsored by the far-right Greek nationalist ELAM party, essentially calls for secondary students to mark the anniversary by learning about the referendum and the Enosis cause.Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Şubat 2017, 17:35