Cyprus’s rival leaders have vowed to “work tirelessly” for a swift peace accord, a United Nations envoy said, after relaunching talks aimed at ending the Mediterranean island nation’s four decades of division.
Greek Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades and the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, Mustafa Akinci, met at the capital’s derelict airport on Friday in search of a breakthrough to one of Europe’s most stubborn conflicts.
“In the prevailing climate of optimism... the two leaders underscored their shared will to reach a comprehensive settlement,” UN envoy Espen Barth Eide said after the four-hour meeting. Mr Eide said both leaders discussed their “shared vision” of a Cyprus unified under a federal structure, and agreed to meet at least twice a month.
Cyprus was split into an internationally recognised Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974, when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.
The election of Mr Akinci last month, a moderate, over a hardline incumbent has offered a glimmer of hope that a peace deal may be in the offing.
The talks are the first between the two sides following an eight-month pause. The pair will meet again on 28 May.