CYPRUS: Cypriot leaders hold informal talks to kick-start peace process

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Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci hold informal meeting in the buffer zone on Tuesday to hopefully break the deadlock over stalled reunification talks.

They have begun talks on Tuesday at the Nicosia residence of the UN chief of mission, Elizabeth Spehar.

At the same time, the UN envoy Jane Holl Lute, will meet in Athens with Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giorgos Katrougalos, in the framework of her meetings with the parties involved to formulate the terms of reference that will pave the way for the resumption of the Cyprus talks.

Government spokesman Prodromos Prodomou told CNA that there is no fixed agenda for the meeting and that the two leaders will not engage in formal negotiations. He said Anastasiades is attending the meeting with a view to conclude the terms of reference that lead to a resumption of talks.

He also said that in order to have progress, all six parameters of the framework outlined by the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres need to be accepted.

Moreover, he stressed that If there is political will, especially on the part of Turkey, the process to resume settlement talks will also move forward.

Spehar has had telephone conversations with both leaders prior to their meeting.

UN-backed Cyprus talks have gone nowhere since a peace summit in Switzerland collapsed at Crans-Montana in July 2017.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory in response to a Greek engineered coup in Nicosia.