Greece supports the Cyprus peace talks, set to resume next week, Tsipras says

The Greek government is “actively supportive” the resumption of the UN-led peace talks in Cyprus, which were suspended last month, when Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci walked out of a meeting.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, after a meeting today in Athens with the President of the European Council Donald Tusk, told journalists that although developments in the Cyprus issue were not “especially encouraging”, he hoped that the negotiations between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots “will be substantial”.

In this context, he added, the EU could play an important role.

The two statesmen held discussions on various topics, primarily on those concerning the Greek bailout program which is expected to be reviewed on Friday at the Eurogroup meeting in Malta, and the refugee situation in Greece and elsewhere.

Mr Tsipras noted that relations between the EU and Turkey are going through “a difficult period”, and that they could get back to par “only on the basis of common values and bilateral trust”.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. UN-backed efforts to reunify the island under a federal roof were suspended when Mustafa Akinci walked out of a meeting in mid February, claiming that a House decision to commemorate, briefly, in school a 1950 referendum advocating union with Greece was in fact a shift in the long standing position of the Greek Cypriot side for a bicommunal, bizonal federal solution in Cyprus.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades has described the decision “wrong”, saying the timing was not right. Akinci said he would not return to the negotiations unless the decision is revoked. The House is set to vote on an amendment on the bill, which essentially annuls the earlier House decision, on Friday 7 April.

The UN Secretary General Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide hosted a dinner last Sunday for President Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. In an announcement, issued after the dinner, the first encounter between the two leaders after the suspension of the talks, the UN noted that the two leaders reconfirmed their joint commitment to finding a solution in the best interest of all Cypriots and exchanged ideas about the way ahead.

Furthermore, Espen Barth Eide would continue his interaction with them in order to lay the groundwork for the resumption of the negotiations as soon as possible, the announcement concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency