Military

Cyprus Unification Suffers Setback as Nicosia Cancels Peace Talks

Sputnik News

19:23 25.05.2016(updated 19:27 25.05.2016)

There are concerns over Cyprus' ongoing plans for unification after the country's president canceled scheduled peace talks with Turkish Cypriot leaders, citing perceived efforts to recognize the Turkish-controlled north of the island.

President Nicos Anastasiades canceled the planned meeting after discovering Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had been invited to this week's World Humanitarian Summit, held in Istanbul.

"With regret President Anastasiades has ascertained there is no fertile ground to hold a planned meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader on May 27," government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.

The cancellation of Friday's planned meeting is the first hurdle in rejuvenated peace talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders, with relations between the government in Nicosia and Turkish Cypriot officials improving in recent times.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's last-minute decision to invite Akinci to the Istanbul summit angered Cypriot officials, who saw it as a double attempt to both undermine the legitimacy of Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades, while also bolster the profile of the self-declared Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is recognized only by Turkey.

Turkish-Cypriot Invitation 'Unacceptable'

Officials in Nicosia labeled the developments "unacceptable," while also accusing UN Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide of involvement in the incident.

In a statement, Anastasiades said he was committed to working towards unification "provided that it meets the rule of mutual respect… not unilateral moves designed to upgrade the pseudo-state."

"Similar moves by anyone involved, not excluding the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, not only don't help, but rather undermine the ongoing process," he added.

Cyprus has been divided into an internationally-recognized Greek-Cypriot south and Turkish-Cypriot north since 1974, when Turkish troops occupied the northern third of the island.

Despite the long division, pro-unification officials are hopeful the good relations between Anastasiades and Akinci could lead to a unification deal.

Sputnik



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