Cyprus’ Christian, Muslim leaders offer peace talks support
NICOSIA – The Associated Press
Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci shake hands as the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Archbishop Chrysostomos II, left, and the Turkish Cypriot religious leader Mufti Yalip Atalay look on after a meeting at UN buffer zone at Ledra palace hotel in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. AP PhotoAn official says talks between the heads of Cyprus’ Christian and Muslim communities and the leaders of the ethnically split island’s Greek- and Turkish-speaking communities give “great hope” that religion can better contribute to peace.
Sweden’s Peter Weiderud, who facilitated the meeting, says although religion has never been at the root of the Cyprus conflict, religion and the right to freely worship have become victims of it.
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı met on Sept. 10 with the heads of Cyprus’ Orthodox Christian, Armenian, Maronite and Latin Catholic churches as well as the Turkish Cypriot Grand Mufti.
Cyprus was divided in 1974 when the Turkish military intervened after a Greek-inspired coup aimed at union with Greece.
The meeting is believed to be the first of its kind.