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25 June, 2024
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Divided Cyprus’ leaders to meet as hope for peace dims

Meeting set after swearing-in ceremony as Christodoulides calls for greater EU involvement


President-elect Nikos Christodoulides is set to meet Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on March 1, the same day he assumes office, but talk of the Greek Cypriot politician forming a Cyprus Problem task force were still unclear.

(Click here for an update to the story)

Local media reported that a meeting between the two community leaders of divided Cyprus has been confirmed and will take place on March 1, the same day Christodoulides will be sworn in as the eighth president of the Republic of Cyprus.

Rumors of a possible Cyprus Problem task force were still unclear on Thursday, when a representative from the Christodoulides camp did not confirm whether such a team was being put together

The meeting in the buffer zone is set to be facilitated by Colin Stewart, the divided island’s UN top official.

Christodoulides, who spoke with Tatar on Monday, had expressed his deepest condolences over the deaths of Turkish Cypriots in Turkey’s deadly earthquake and also spoke of his readiness to meet his counterpart even before his swearing-in ceremony.

During the phone call initiated by Tatar, the Turkish Cypriot leader congratulated his Greek Cypriot counterpart following a runoff election that saw Christodoulides sweep to victory amid concerns that peace talks were losing impetus.

Questions over a rumored Cyprus Problem task force were still unclear on Thursday morning, when a representative from the Christodoulides camp did not confirm on state radio whether such a team was being put together.

Christodoulides, who campaigned on a broad platform of wide social acceptance, won the election with support from hardliners on the Cyprus Problem. But his main support came from centrists who seek peace talks on a federal basis, a formula that has been rejected by Tatar who calls for a two-state solution.

Christodoulides says he will push for a more active and greater EU involvement in the Cyprus Problem, while Tatar has argued that European Union leaders have been biased over the conflict in favor of Greek Cypriots.

Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines for half a century. After Turkish troops landed in 1974, following a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, the island became geographically split between a recognized Greek Cypriot south as Republic of Cyprus and a Turkish Cypriot north recognized only by Ankara.

Cyprus  |  UN  |  peace talks  |  Christodoulides  |  Tatar  |  federal  |  two-state  |  division  |  EU

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