Following an invitation by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, newly elected Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı paid a visit to Ban in New York on Wednesday and discussed the accelerated peace talks with the Greek Cyprus.
After a series of peace talks with the Greek Cyprus, Akıncı received a call from Ban, who expressed his pleasure with the resumption of the talks and reiterated support for the efforts exerted to reunite the island.
According to a previous 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.
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 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.