WORLD

Akinci 'cautiously optimistic' about Cyprus talks

AKINCI CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT CYPRUS TALKS

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci described Monday the upcoming Cyprus peace talks in Switzerland as a "decision conference" for the future of the long-divided Mediterranean island.

"This conference is a decision conference," Akinci told reporters at Lefkosa's Ercan International Airport ahead of the talks that are scheduled to begin in Crans-Montana on Wednesday.

"Our aim, as the Turkish Cypriot side, is to reach a solution which is in line with our people's wishes and desires," he said, calling on all sides to "be reasonable and realistic".

"As long as this goal is shared with all other sides, and we focus on what is possible, and do not demand the impossible, then reaching a resolution is possible," he added.

The Turkish Cypriot president went on to say that a successful outcome at the end of the conference would not only be significant for everyone living on the island, but also for regional and world peace.

"I will set out on this journey with this positive thought in mind and a cautious optimism," he said.

Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the re-start of Cyprus conference for June 28, following a meeting with Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders in New York.

The conference will host Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades.

Turkey, Greece and the U.K. will participate as guarantor powers, and the EU in an observer capacity.

The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks, and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.

Akinci and Anastasiades have been involved in reunification talks to create a federal state since May 2015.

The pair met several times in Geneva last year, but their last meeting in February was fraught with controversy over a Greek Cypriot decision to introduce a commemoration of the 1950 Enosis referendum on unification with Greece.

Both sides had agreed on most of the issues in the reunification deal but the sticking points, including a security and guarantees system, remain unresolved.

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