Anastasiades outburst jeopardizes Cyprus talks
REUTERS photoGreek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades’ decision to cancel peace talks scheduled for May 27 after cutting short a trip to Turkey for the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) due to anger over a perceived protocol breach has put the United Nations-brokered Cyprus peace talks into jeopardy.
Anastasiades was in Turkey for the U.N.’s WHS but refused to attend a banquet for heads of state on May 23 after Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı was also invited.
Implicitly blaming the U.N. for the controversy, government spokesman Nikos Christodoulides said there was “no fertile ground” for the planned May 27 meeting with Akıncı in Nicosia, one of the many meetings the two leaders have conducted since May 2015.
Nonetheless, Christodoulides added, Anastasiades was still committed to the peace process on the island, according to Reuters.
The Mediterranean island has been divided into two communities since 1974 when Turkey partially intervened into the north after a coup aiming at unification with Greece took place.
Peace talks to solve the more than 40-year-old conflict was re-launched in May 2015, after Akıncı was elected as the new president of the Turkish community.
Akıncı and Anastasiades said in January that a peace deal was possible within 2016.
“The president of the republic [of Greek Cyprus] reiterates his decisiveness to continue the dialogue as long as the principle of mutual respect and the will for an acceptable solution are maintained, without unilateral moves which seek to upgrade the pseudo-state,” Christodoulides said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear who invited Akıncı to the summit, but his Twitter account showed pictures of him with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. special envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide.
Such actions from “any party – not excluding the U.N. special envoy for the Cyprus problem” undermine the process, Christodoulides said.