INTRODUCTION: The leaders of the rival Greek and turkish communities on the divided island of Cyprus met on Thursday (27 January) for the first time in almost 14 years.
INTRODUCTION: The leaders of the rival Greek and turkish communities on the divided island of Cyprus met on Thursday (27 January) for the first time in almost 14 years. Greek Cypriot leader, Archbishop Makarios, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Rauf Denktash, met on neutral ground controlled by United Nations peace-keeping forces.
SYNOPSIS: There was heavy security around the Finnish United Nations post near Nicosia Airport for the meeting, which lasted about two-and-three-quarter hours. Intercommunal talks in Vienna were broken off last February, after failing to settle conflicts over the constitutional future of the two communities and the presence of Turkish forces in the northern half of Cyprus.
Until Thursday there had been no meeting between the two sides since May last year. Both leaders were driven to the Finnish headquarters under strong guard, and armed guards patrolled the camp.
Afterward, Archbishop Makarios said the meeting could be considered a breakthrough for the resumption of talks. However, he emphasised that he could not say there was a rapproachment of views, since there still existed serious differences on basic points. Mr. Denktash, in an statement released by the Turkish Cypriot Information Office, predicted that negotiators from the two communities would now be able to resume their duties. The two leaders are scheduled to meet again next month.