Turkish Cypriot leader optimistic about deal in 2014

Turkish Cypriot leader optimistic about deal in 2014

Turkish Cypriot leader optimistic about deal in 2014

AA Photo

Turkish Cypriot leader Derviş Eroğlu on April 21 voiced optimism about ironing out a settlement to the island's four-decade division with his Greek-Cypriot counterpart in UN-sponsored talks.
"We have recently resumed negotiation as I have mentioned and during the course of the negotiations we will try to bridge our differences and try to find a comprehensive settlement in the shortest possible time," Eroğlu said at a briefing with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
"We believe a settlement is possible within this year, and then we can finalize the settlement and take it to separate simultaneous referenda in 2014."  

“We have the support of the secretary-general in this regard. He has been encouraging the both sides.” Outgoing U.N. envoy Alexander Downer told a farewell news conference on March 27 that Greek Cyprus’ bailout and economic problems could bolster the chances of a peace accord.

He said the country’s shrunken economy and high unemployment could get people to focus on the benefits an agreement would bring, such as a potential increase in foreign investment and a tourism influx.    

After an almost two-year-long pause, Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders held their first meeting in early February, issuing a joint declaration that outlines the way forward for a solution to the crisis that has gripped the island for half a century.

Negotiations over Cyprus are set to resume after a 2004 deal put forward by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to reunify the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities was defeated by a negative vote in the Greek Cypriot administration.

The joint declaration announced by the U.N. mission in Cyprus on Feb. 11 said a settlement between the two sides “will be based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation with political equality” after the presidents of Turkish and Greek parties met in U.N. buffer zone in Nicosia.