The leaders of the two divided communities of Cyprus, long regarded as implacable political enemies, met for the first time on Sunday (15 January) at a luncheon given by United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.
The leaders of the two divided communities of Cyprus, long regarded as implacable political enemies, met for the first time on Sunday (15 January) at a luncheon given by United Nations Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim. The meeting between President Spyros Kyprianou, leader of the Greek Cypriot majority on the island, and Turkish Cypriot chief Rauf Denktash, took place in the Cypriot capital of Nicosia, and was seen as a major boost for Dr. Waldheim.
SYNOPSIS: The United Nations Secretary-General arrived on Cyprus on Saturday (14 January) and he had and early meeting with President Kyprianou. His visit was part of a tour aimed at reviving inter-communal talks.
The talks had been stalled since April, and refugees, and those with missing relatives were eager to use the visit to plead their cause.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish forces invaded the island in 1974, and it was Dr. Waldheim's first visit for almost a year.
Dr. Waldheim spent two hours with the Cypriot President and afterwards he said he felt encouraged by the meeting. However, at Sunday's luncheon President Kyprianou was reported to have been slightly uneasy. He remained sceptical about prospects for renewing the talks, arguing that it was essential for the Turkish Cypriots to come up with concrete proposals on vital territorial and constitutional issues. The Turkish Cypriots themselves were reported to be eager to resume talking.
The refugee problem is something that has plagued Cypriot politicians since the Turkish invasion of the northern part of the island. There are said to be at least 200,000 of them.
Many refugees have lost all their possessions, and only a quarter are said to live in homes that are regarded as acceptable.