Turkish Cypriot leader, UN chief discuss Cyprus peace

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) President Mustafa Akinci and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have met to discuss the latest developments in negotiations between Turkish and Greek Cyprus, which gained new momentum after Akinci came to power in April.
The UN published a press statement following the meeting between a Turkish delegation consisting of Akinci, Turkish Cyprusand’s chief negotiator andOzdil Nami, presidential spokesperson Barii Burcu and Ban on Friday morning.
The UN expressed pleasure over the efforts of the Turkish and Greek sides to accelerate peace talks over the unification of the island, which was divided along ethnic lines after Turkeyand’s intervention in 1974 following a coup aiming to unite the tiny eastern Mediterranean island with Greece.
The statement also said the steps to be taken by the parties and the UN within the framework of the peace talks were discussed.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Akinci said the Turkish side would adopt a reconciliatory attitude and would ensure that neither side acts querulously in order to conclude the talks.
When asked whether the results of the June 7 election in Turkey might change the course of the talks, Akinci replied by saying that both President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu fully support the ongoing talks and that he personally believes the process will not be affected regardless of who comes to power in Turkey.
In his first visit abroad as president, Akinci came to Turkey on May 6 and met with Erdogan, who reiterated his strong support for the efforts to bring a lasting solution to the decades-old Cyprus dispute.
Akinci also said that he asked Ban to provide support for the clearance of minefields created before the island was split in 1974, which are currently situated in the Turkish sideand’s territory.
Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, after a meeting with his Turkish counterpart to restart peace talks that have been stalled since last October, said he would provide Akinci with details and maps of 28 anti-personnel minefields along the Pentadaktylos Mountains, a move seen by many as a step towards resuming reunification talks.
Peace talks between Cyprusand’s estranged Greek and Turkish communities stalled last October when Turkey sent a gas exploration ship off the coast of Greek Cyprus. The discovery of new riches in natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean, close to the islandand’s coast, added a new twist to the reunification talks.
The prospects for the resumption of the frozen talks emerged when Akinci, known for his moderate stance compared to his hardline rival in the elections, was elected president on April 26. Immediately after Akinciand’s election, both sides made gestures to show their determination to put the stalled talks back on track.
Akinci, saying that the natural gas reserves should benefit the whole island, added that the distribution of the gas by Israeli or Cypriot firms to Europe through a pipeline going through Turkey would be a wise solution for the disagreement over the sharing of resources.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman