Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and the new hardline leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Ersin Tatar, have agreed to a getting-to-know-you meeting in Nicosia’s UN-controlled buffer zone.
Government spokesman, Kyriakos Koushos said in a written statement that Anastasiades contacted Tatar by phone to congratulate him on Sunday’s election victory as leader of the Turkish Cypriot community.
He said Anastasiades proposed to Tatar to meet the soonest possible to get to know each other, an invitation which Tatar accepted.
After they agreed in principle to meet, Anastasiades contacted UN chief of mission in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, whom he briefed about the leaders’ intention to meet.
Spehar said she would make all the necessary arrangements at the UN compound in Nicosia, the spokesman stated.
Hardline nationalist, Tatar, beat incumbent Mustafa Akinci in the closely contested runoff that was beset by accusations of “unprecedented” meddling by Turkey in a bid to round up votes for the challenger.
Akinci, 72, was viewed as a champion of Turkish Cypriots who oppose Turkey’s complete domination of their affairs and a backer of a federal deal with Greek Cypriots.
After his election victory, Tatar, who favours fully aligning Turkish Cypriot policies with those of Turkey, said any peace accord should take into account the “realities” in and around the divided island.
Brussels expects the new Turkish Cypriot leader to engage in a dialogue constructively and with a sense of urgency, for Cyprus reunification, said European Commission spokesperson Vivian Loonela.
In a written statement she said: “It is now crucial that the settlement talks are resumed. The EU expects Mr Tatar to engage in dialogue constructively and with a sense of urgency with a view to reaching a comprehensive settlement and reunification”.
“The European Union supports the speedy resumption of negotiations, under the auspices of the UN, and remains fully committed to a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem within the UN framework …in line with the principles on which the EU is founded.”
UK ready to work
The UK Government has affirmed its readiness to resume talks on a settlement of the Cyprus issue that would see the island reunified according to the UN resolutions, following elections in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus.
Foreign Office minister Wendy Morton, whose portfolio includes the Cyprus issue, reacted to Ersin Tatar’s victory with a post on Twitter on Monday.
“The UK stands ready to work with @ersinrtatar, @AnastasiadesCY, Greece, Turkey and @UN to restart talks to reunify Cyprus in accordance with UN Security Council Resolutions,” wrote the UK Minister for the European Neighbourhood.