UN Secretary-General Ban invites Turkish Cypriot President Akıncı to NY
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMay 18, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
May 18, 2015 12:00 am
Turkish and Greek Cyprus are back at the negotiating table to re-launch the peace talks that were on ice for seven months, accelerating the traffic of diplomacy. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon phoned Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı on Sunday and expressed his wish to have a meeting with the newly elected leader in New York.
During the conversation with Akıncı, Ban reportedly expressed his pleasure with the resumption of the talks and reiterated support for the efforts exerted to reunite the island. According to a statement, Ban, elated over a consensus on a sequence of reassuring measures, said both Akıncı and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiadis could build a future for the island with concerted efforts, making the most of the "unique" chance that they have. "You will prove that even a long-standing rift can be overcome by political will, vision and leadership if you take advantage of this chance," Ban reportedly told Akıncı on the phone.
Akıncı and Anastasiades met on May 15 in Nicosia to push forward the stalled peace talks to reunify the island. The date was slated during a dinner on May 11 hosted by U.N. Special Adviser for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide in Nicosia's neutral buffer zone.
During the four-hour meeting on Friday, Eide said in a sign of their mutual commitment to peace, the two leaders have agreed to work on a number of steps aimed at building confidence. While Akıncı announced the dropping of visa forms, Anastasiades disclosed the coordinates of 28 minefields dotting a mountain range in the north. The resumption of negotiations was hailed by Cypriots.
Ban also assured over the phone that his support for the talks, which he branded as a significant opportunity, will continue. Akıncı, in response, also agreed that the process they are going through is a good chance and thanked Ban for his support. He also added that diligence is required to reach a resolution and that he hoped there will be sufficient progress to the end with the road map they have.
The pair will come together in New York based on availability in their schedules.
The ongoing dispute on the island started in the 1960s when a Treaty of Guarantee was signed between Turkish and Greek Cypriots along with the British government over the island. The treaty stipulated that Cyprus would not participate in any political or economic union with other states, but three years later, Turkish Cypriots were ousted by force from all bodies of the new republic by Greek Cypriots. Later, Greek Cyprus claimed to be the representative of the island, known as the Republic of Cyprus, which is solely not recognized by Turkey.
Turkish and Greek Cypriots have tried to find a comprehensive settlement to renew their partnership since a joint government on the island collapsed in 1963.
Peace talks were suspended by Greek Cyprus when Turkish Cyprus sent a vessel off the southern coast of the island for hydrocarbon exploration citing equal rights for both sides. Both sides later withdrew their vessels as a sign of willingness to resume peace talks.