Cyprus reunification talks to begin today after nearly 2-month hiatus

Published 10.04.2017 21:24

Cyprus reunification talks aimed at resolving the decades-long division on the island will resume today following a two-month hiatus that ensued following a decision by Greek Cypriot administration's enosis to unite the island with Greece, according to a U.N. announcement on April 4. Reunification talks between Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades will be overseen by U.N. Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide.

The initial announcement regarding possible resuming of talks comes after the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders met for dinner on April 2, the first time since talks were suspended in February. In the days following the announcement, the Greek-Cypriot Parliament voted on April 7 in a 30 to 20 majority to shelve the enosis decision, after which Akıncı announced that reunification talks will officially commence on April 11, while noting that, "A very serious shuttle diplomacy should be carried out between the two sides and among the three guarantor countries [Turkey, Greece and the U.K.]."

Furthermore, Akıncı advocated for reciprocity and emphasized "good will" for the fresh start of Cyprus reunification talks on Sunday. "We will only be able to find a solution if we work together," Akıncı said, adding, "No one should expect us to take one-sided steps in the new negotiation process," while speaking at a local event in the town of Lapta in the city of Girne. The enosis law made the brief schoolroom commemoration of a 1950 referendum for the island's union with Greece mandatory in February. Turkish-Cypriot leaders widely perceived this as a deviation from the stated goal of reunifying the island as a federation, something that Greek Cypriots have strongly denied.

During the latest round of reunification talks between the two leaders, the controversial 1950 referendum known as "Enosis" has become a subject of discussion. During the meeting on Feb. 16, Anastasiades denied Akıncı's request to cancel the enosis decision and slammed the door, leaving the meeting. However, Anastasiades said he left the room during a break. As a result of the tension between the two leaders, the reunification talks were suspended for nearly two months.

Akıncı and Anastasiades have been involved in the U.N.-led talks to create a federal, two-part state since May 2015.

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