Cypriot leaders discuss power-sharing issues
Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders met on Wednesday to discuss power-sharing and governance in the latest round of talks on ending their decades-old conflict and reuniting the island, reported dpa.
It was the sixth meeting between Cyprus President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat since they launched a new round of peace talks on September 3. The two leaders are scheduled to meet again on November 3.
"The talks are continuing and are constructive," Alexander Downer, special advisor to United Nations secretary general, said in a statement.
Both sides are hoping to end the conflict that has dragged on for more than three decades and which threatens Turkey's aspirations of joining the European Union.
Peace talks were deadlocked after former president Tassos Papadopoulos led the Greek-Cypriot rejection of a UN reunification plan in a 2004 referendum. Turkish Cypriots had overwhelmingly voted in favour.
With newly-elected Christofias in office, expectations are running high for a breakthrough in efforts to reunite the island, which has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded the northern third in response to an Athens-led coup to annex the island to Greece.
The two sides have agreed in principle to reunite the island as a federal entity composed of two constituent states, which would guarantee the equality of both communities.
Diplomats fear the peace process, which is barely two months in progress, may already be losing momentum.
The real problem dividing the two sides is how the Greek Cypriot majority would share power with the minority Turkish Cypriots.
The Turkish Cypriots want a loose federation while the Greek Cypriots want a stronger central government and more limited regional powers which will prevent the island falling back into partition.
Meeting at the site of the abandoned, bullet-riddled former airport in the UN buffer zone, both sides have been focusing on the complex list of issues dividing the two sides.
These range from territory and property disputes from more than 250,000 people who have lost their homes, to future governance of the island.