Christofias to give up due to Cyprus problem
Christofias makes his statement to the media at the presidential palace in Nicosia. AP photoGreek Cypriot President Demetris Christofias said yesterday he would not seek re-election next year, citing a deadlock in talks to reunify the ethnically split island as his main reason for stepping down.
“Taking as a fact that the Cyprus problem has not been solved and there does not appear to be definitive progress in the next few months ... I will not seek re-election as president of the Republic of Cyprus,” Christofias said in a state address. Christofias, 65,a communist elected for a five year term in 2008, represents the Greek Cypriot side in reunification talks with Turkish Cypriots. Before his election he said he would be a one-term president, unless a solution to the island’s decades-old conflict was in sight. “I am honoring a pledge I made before my election,” Christofias said. “The situation in negotiations today is unfortunately not encouraging.” He becomes the first Greek Cyprus president not to stand for re-election.
Fresh reunification talks between the two sides were launched after Christofias’ election in 2008, but have failed to break a rigid impasse in place for decades. The United Nations, which oversees negotiations, recently said it would not host further meetings between Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroğlu unless there were signs they could make clear progress on issues holding up a breakthrough.
Christofias’s popularity has plummeted in opinion polls since a munitions explosion last year which destroyed Greek Cyprus’s largest power station. The disaster took the island to the brink of seeking a bailout from its EU partners.
Compiled from AFP and Reuters stories by the Daily News staff