Cyprus leaders try to revive peace process

Cyprus leaders try to revive peace process

NICOSIA - Agence France-Presse
Cyprus leaders try to revive peace process

A handout picture released by the Cypriot Press and Information Office shows Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (2ndR) meeting with Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu (2ndL) in the United Nations Buffer Zone that Nov 25. AFP PHOTO

Rival Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders met Nov 25 in a bid to revive a peace process aimed at reuniting the divided island, but appeared no closer to a breakthrough.

The "clear-the-air" talks between President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu were the first between them on the peace process which has been stalled for 19 months.

The meeting, at a restaurant in the UN-controlled buffer zone that has separated the island for nearly four decades, lasted two hours and 40 minutes.

Afterwards, Anastasiades told reporters: "I took this initiative to ascertain whether we could make a joint declaration and open the way to resolving the Cyprus problem."

"Unfortunately there is still a road to travel to reach the desired outcome." The Greek Cypriot leader said both sides agreed their negotiators should continue efforts to thrash out the terms of a joint statement outlining the objectives of revived peace talks.

There has been no movement in Cyprus reunification talks since March 2012, and the leaders took the unusual step of agreeing to meet informally -- accompanied by senior aides -- without the prompting or presence of the United Nations.

The UN, Russia and the United States welcomed the initiative to hold Monday's talks as a step forward.

Anastasiades said he invited Eroğlu to hold the informal talks after the Turkish Cypriot leader called him to pay his respects following the death of Greek Cypriot former president Glafcos Clerides, who was buried last week.