Coronavirus threat to bring Cypriot leaders together
The World Health Organization's statement that the coronavirus, originating in China, is a public health emergency of international concern has compelled the leaders of the ethnically divided island of Cyprus to cooperate.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı called his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nikos Anastasiades by phone on Jan. 31, according to local media.
In addition to the measures taken by the relevant ministries on both sides, Akıncı suggested to Anastasiades to act together on the common measures to be taken against the epidemic without borders and to convene the bi-communal health committee in Cyprus for this purpose.
Upon the Greek Cypriot leader's positive response to the proposal, the necessary preparatory work for the members of the bi-communal committee was initiated, a written statement made by Akıncı's office said.
The committee will meet in the buffer zone of Cyprus on Feb. 3.
Akıncı and Anastasiades will also attend the meeting of the committee.
The leaders will meet for the first time in a non-negotiated meeting after a long break.
Cyprus’ communities should choose to win together, instead of losing together: Turkish Cypriot leader
The virus has raised alarms globally, with cases reported across Asia, Europe, the U.S., and Canada.
The death toll in China from the novel coronavirus outbreak has climbed to 213.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power.
In 1983, Turkish Cyprus was founded.
The decades since then have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure.
The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the U.K., ended in 2017 in Switzerland.