President Nicos Anastasiades hopes to surmount regional tensions to find a way toward the reunification of Cyprus.
“I hope that within the coming period there will be mutual understanding and perception so that we will be able to overcome the tension that is unfolding around us,” said Anastasiades in his message to celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter.
He also wished to “find our own way toward peace and cooperation always on the basis of mutual respect as well as the principles of legality and international law”.
Rival Cypriot leaders will meet for dinner on April 16 in an effort by the United Nations to reignite a stalled peace process to end decades-long division.
It will be the first time Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı have met since UN-backed peace talks collapsed in acrimony at a Swiss summit last July.
“I hope that within the coming period we will be able to overcome the tension that is unfolding around us”
The UN is hoping dinner diplomacy in Nicosia can push-start stalled Cyprus reunification talks after Cypriot leaders agreed to iron-out differences after nine months of inertia.
But the social gathering is not expected to lead to a resumption of talks but it may help break the ice.
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third in response to a coup sponsored by the military junta then ruling Greece.
Since Cyprus talks came to a gridlock, tensions in the region have heightened following Nicosia’s upgraded search for natural gas reserves which is opposed by Turkey.
The dispute over resources in the Mediterranean is another complicating factor in efforts to reunify the island after negotiations on the 44-year feud collapsed last year.
Anastasiades has said reunification talks cannot resume while Turley is trying to block the island’s energy development strategy.
Last month the EU condemned Turkey’s actions in the Eastern Mediterranean and Aegean telling it to cease such actions against Member States Cyprus and Greece.
Repeated rounds of talks on reunifying the island as a bizonal, bicommunal federation have all failed.