Cyprus leaders on same page in peace talks

Long running peace talks are set to make progress with both Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders making way in finding common ground.

Cyprus leaders on same page in peace talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

Negotiations to settle Cyprus's division are starting to show some progress, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said on Thursday, an unusually upbeat assessment on prospects of ending one ofEurope's most enduring conflicts.

Anastasiades, who represents the Greek Cypriot community in reunification talks with Turkish Cypriots, told Reuters in an interview that some "convergences" had started to appear in negotiations on specific topics under discussion.

"A degree of progress is being achieved. If we continue at this rate I believe that soon we can start to speak of significant progress," he said.

Cyprus's Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived estranged since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island's north after a brief Greek-inspired coup, though the seeds of partition were sown soon after independence from Britain in 1960.

Anastasiades said the victory of Mustafa Akinci, a moderate left winger, in Turkish Cypriot elections in April appeared to be a turning point. "Without doubt the climate has substantially improved because finally there is a dialogue," he said.

"I think there is mutual understanding of the concerns of the sides, an awareness of the pitfalls ahead, and a decisiveness to deal with them so that, if there is the goodwill that there is today, to get to a solution."

"We are on the same track," Anastasiades added, referring to Akinci.

The frozen conflict has been a permanent fixture on U.N. Security Council agendas for at least half a century, andCyprus hosts one of the world's oldest peacekeeping forces, monitoring a 180-kilometre ceasefire line slicing an east-west line through the eastern Mediterranean island.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Temmuz 2015, 14:07