Christofias Wants Talks Progress Before EU Presidency
If important progress is to be made in ongoing reunification talks between the Greek-and-Turkish Cypriots, it should be done before Cyprus takes up the EU rotating presidency in 2012, said President Demetris Christofias.
Speaking after the May 5th face-to-face meeting with Turkish-Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu, Christofias said that the leaders confirmed an agreement on guidelines for international treaties that would be binding on a future 'United Cyprus Republic'.
The discussion on issues of internal security continued in yesterday's meeting held at UN Special Representative Lisa Buttenheim's home.
The next meeting between himself and Eroglu will take place on May 12th at 10am and will be on another issue, said Christofias.
Brief background on Cyprus issue
There has been a deep political and communal split between Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots since 1974, when Turkey invaded the island and forced a division in the wake of inter-communal conflicts and against the background of historical regional conflicts between Greece and Turkey.
Turkey invoked the Treaty of Guarantee to justify its invasion - also called an intervention or peace operation by the Turkish Cypriots - under which three guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain had the right to intervene if Cyprus' sovereignty was threatened. In 1974 there was an attempted coup against then-President Archbishop Makarios by right-wing Greek-Cypriot militants EOKA B who were backed by the Greek Junta which sought political enosis (union) with Cyprus.
Turkey, fearing a union between Greece and Cyprus and supportive of the policy of taksim (partition), decided to invade and has occupied the island with 40,000 troops in the northern third of the island ever since, enforcing a de facto partition between the two communities. Direct political contact between the Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots effectively began again in 2004, when Cyprus joined the EU and after border crossings were opened between the two sides.
The latest round of reunification talks started in 2008 between President Demetris Christofias and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat and continued with Dervis Eroglu after he won an election in the Turkish-Cypriot community early 2010. The United Nations has supported reunification talks based on a bi-communal, bi-zonal federal state and has maintained peacekeeping troops on the island since 1964.