World Bulletin / News Desk
Peace talks between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots to resolve the four-decade old political dispute on the divided island will resume Tuesday under U.N. mediation.
The island has been divided into Greek and Turkish sides since a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission to aid Turkish Cypriots in the north in 1974.
Turkish Cypriot President Dervis Eroglu and Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Anastasiades will meet in the UN-controlled buffer zone. The last round of talks stalled eighteen months ago when the Greek Cypriot side assumed the EU rotating presidency in 2012 and also due to the eurozone debt crisis.
Eroglu and Anastasiades are expected to issue a joint declaration on the path towards reunification.
The leaders announced last week that they agreed on a text that outlines how the talks should move forward. It recommends recognizing the equal status of the two states, while aiming to bring the divided communities closer under a federated government.
The two sides hope to reach a comprehensive plan by the end of the negotiations. The plan would then be discussed within the communities and put to separate referendums.
A 2004 deal put forward by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities was defeated by a ‘no’ vote in a Cyprus-wide referendum. Intermittent talks have since been inconclusive due to political and economic reasons.
The Turkish Cypriot side insists that it displays the political will to resolve the long-standing Cyprus dispute.
Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami on Monday stressed the importance of approaching the talks "in good faith."
"If we can draw lessons from the past and show a commitment to reach a federal solution, referendums on both sides for a comprehensive plan could become a reality as a result of the negotiation process. This would take months, not years."
The Greek Cypriot side laying down conditions, asks Turkey to implement the additional protocol that requires Turkey to open its ports and airports to Greek Cypriot administration's ships and airplanes and in return proposes to unblock 8 chapters in Turkey's EU accession talks.
It also asks Turkey to open Maras on the island of Cyprus, also known as Varosha in Greek, to which entry is forbidden with the exception of the Turkish Army personnel, to Greek settlement.
However, coalition partner of the Greek Cypriot administration, centre-right party DIKO, strongly opposes to the joint declaration expected to be issued later Tuesday.
The Greek Cypriot administration is a member of the EU and recognized internationally except by Turkey while the Turkish Cypriot side is only recognized by Turkey.
Greece, earlier on Friday, expressed support for the renewed talks, with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras describing the talks as 'one of the leading priorities of Greek foreign policy'.
The negotiations are also supported by the US with Assistant Secretary of State or European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland saying during her visit to the last week that talks between both sides ended positively.
Turkish PM has high hopes
Turkish prime minister on Tuesday said a brand new process is set to begin in Cyprus and expressed hopes that it will succeed in solving the longstanding problem that divides the island.
PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan addressed his ruling AK Party's MPs in their weekly parliamentary group meeting.
He commented on the Cyprus peace talks, which are due to begin Tuesday, to resolve the decades long conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean island.
"I hope neither side will step back from the talks and the Cyprus conflict will finally be solved," Erdogan said.
The prime minister also said the new direction signalled by the resumption of the talks is a promising one.Last Mod: 11 Şubat 2014, 18:02