Ahead of an informal dinner with Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci next week, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is due to meet April 13 with the United Nation’s new Cyprus envoy Elizabeth Spehar, with hopes that broken off reunification negotiations could restart.
Spehar will host a dinner for Anastasiades and Akinci on April 16 at her residence inside the Nicosia buffer zone, said Kathimerini, the first time the rival leaders will meet since unity talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
That was because Turkey insisted on keeping an army on the island and the right to militarily intervene, which it still does, leaving open how that obstacle could be surmounted with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saying he will never back down.
Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the UN’s peacekeeeping force UNFICYP said Spehar “looks forward to hosting the leaders for their informal meeting on the 16th of April and she will continue her contacts with both sides in preparation for this meeting.”
The dinner date is not expected to lead to the resumption of UN-led reunification talks but is aimed at trying to regain some trust before, or if, talks could resume, the paper said.
Turkey has occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion and a long line of diplomats, envoys and politicians haven’t been able to put it back together again.