First Cyprus contacts "very positive," Nicosia minister says
Contacts so far between Turkish Cypriot leaders and the government in Nicosia have gone well, Cypriot Foreign Minister Markos Kyprianou said Wednesday in Berlin after briefing his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the dpa reported.
The German foreign minister said he was confident the talks would lead to full-scale negotiations on ending the island's division.
"I hope that by the middle of the year, these talks will turn into real negotiations between the representatives of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish minority in the north," Steinmeier said.
"It's right that the initiative is coming from the Cypriots themselves," he added. "But help from the international community will also be needed."
"The first steps have been very positive," said Kyprianou, but stressed that much still depended on Ankara.
" Turkey has an important role to play in solving the Cyprus issue," he said, adding that thousands of Turkish soldiers were based in the north. "Once we solve the conflict, we'll be able to solve other problems that exist with Turkey," he added.
The talks under the aegis of the United Nations began in mid-April after the Ledra Street barrier in the heart of Nicosia had been re-opened to end a 44-year closure.