Cypriot leaders hold phone call, agree to meet soon
Leaders of both communities in Cyprus have agreed to come together for an introductory meeting in the divided island, according to reports.
Newly-elected Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades made a phone call and agreed to meet at a social event on Oct. 26 in the intermediate zone, according to Demirören News Agency.
Greek Cypriot officials also confirm the meeting, giving no timeframe for the planned meeting.
“[Anastasiades] proposed to Tatar to meet as soon as possible for a first acquaintance and contact, something that Tatar accepted,” said Kyriacos Koushos in a statement.
“The verdict of our compatriots to elect Ersin Tatar as the new leader of the Turkish Cypriot community is fully respected,” said Greek Cypriot leader Anastasiades, urging him to back a new United Nations-led peace initiative.
“I congratulate Mr. Tatar and look forward to a familiarity meeting as soon as possible,” the president added in a statement.
Voters in the north narrowly elected right-wing Turkish Cypriot nationalist Ersin Tatar at a time of heightened tensions in the eastern Mediterranean.
He received his certificate of the election on Oct. 19.
“The important thing is to work for the betterment of the Turkish Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots,” Tatar told a ceremony in the capital Lefkoşa receiving the certificate from Narin Ferdi Şefik, the nation’s top election official.
The president-elect will be sworn in as the country’s fifth president after the results are published in the Official Gazette.
Tatar edged out previous Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akıncı, a strong supporter of reunification with the Greek Cypriot south.
He clinched his surprise victory in the second round of presidential elections, winning 51.7 percent of the vote.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkey’s military operation in 1974 in reaction to a Greek-engineered coup aiming to annex the island.
Anastasiades said he was “ready and determined” to respond to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ calls for a re-engagement in the peace process to ensure talks resume after a three-year hiatus.
“I want to hope that Tatar shows the same willingness,” he said, ahead of his government spokesman disclosing that the president had contacted the UN chief of mission in Cyprus who agreed to make the arrangements for their meeting.
Guterres had said he will rekindle the peace process after elections in the north of Cyprus.
The last attempt at UN-mediated negotiations collapsed in Switzerland in July 2017.