NICOSIA, Cyprus — About 200 Greek Cypriots have gathered outside Cyprus’ presidential palace to demand the return of their homes and farmland in any deal to reunify the ethnically divided island.
Morphou Mayor Charalambos Pittas told the Associated Press that Friday’s peaceful demonstration was intended to get President Nicos Anastasiades to live up to his pledge of making the return of the fertile town a part of the ongoing reunification talks.
Anastasiades and breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are meeting in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland for two days next week to negotiate how much territory either side would administer under an envisioned federation.
A 1974 Turkish invasion triggered by a coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece split the island along ethnic lines.
Greece Wants a Fair and Viable Solution for the Cyprus Issue
Greece supports a fair and viable solution of the Cyprus issue, which constitutes a primary goal for Greeks and Cypriots, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Wednesday, after a meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Athens.
“Solving the Cyprus issue is a primary national aim not only for the Greeks and the Cypriot people but also for Europe and the wider region,” Tsipras said during a joint presser.
“We steadily support a fair and viable solution for Cyprus, on the basis of U.N. decisions and Cyprus’ status as an EU member-state, without Turkish occupation forces and with the abolition of the anachronistic system of guarantees,” he added.
The Greek prime minister said that given the critical times the world is experiencing in the region and Europe, those talks gain additional importance. He also said the Cyprus issue is not a bilateral but an international issue that begun with the illegal invasion and occupation by Turkish troops.
Speaking to Anastasiades, Tsipras said Cyprus will receive every support from Greece in this negotiating effort because “we believe the fair solution of the Cypriot issue will be to the benefit of the Cypriot people.” He said he was fully briefed by Anastasiades on the significant progress being made in talks with the Turkish-Cypriot side and the issues that remain open.