Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to meet on social level
Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders will meet each other on a social level Wednesday, the first time since breakthrough talks took place in March, reported dpa.
Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are expected to exchange low-key, unofficial views at an Slovakian Embassy function in the buffer zone in Nicosia later on Wednesday.
Reports say the two men will likely discuss the progress that working groups and technical committees have been making to launch the groundwork for new Cyprus reunification talks which are expected to begin by the end of June.
It will be the first meeting between Christofias and Talat since the two met for the first time in March and held breakthrough talks, which resulted in the opening of Ledra Street located in the heart of the commercial section in old Nicosia.
The chief aides to Christofias and Talat along with a panel of experts held their first meeting in mid-April.
The working groups of lawyers, economists and academics have been meeting daily in a UN base located at the old Nicosia airport, which has been abandoned since 1974 in order to pave the way for full- fledged negotiations to get off the ground by June.
The panel of six working groups and seven technical committees, from both sides of the ethnic divide, will cover preparatory reunification issues ranging from environmental protection, health, security, power-sharing, culture, ways of linking the island's two economies as well as property and territory disputes.
With newly-elected Christofias in office, expectations are running high for a breakthrough in peace efforts to reunite the island which has been divided since 1974 after Turkey invaded the northern third of the island in response to an Athens-led coup to reunite the island with Greece.
UN attempts to reunify the island have repeatedly stalled. The latest in 2004 when the majority of Greek Cypriots voted against the plan in a referendum, although Turkish Cypriots overwhelmingly voted in favour.
The two divided sides of Cyprus have agreed in principle to rejoin the island as a bizonal federation, but until now have not been able to agree on how it will be carried out.