Official: Cyprus' Rival Leaders Could Meet Socially in March

The National Herald

FILE - Ban Ki-moon flanks Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. (UN Photo)

NICOSIA (AP) — An official says the leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus could meet socially by the end of the month as a first step to kick-starting stalled reunification talks.

Baris Burcu, a spokesman for breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said Thursday a social meeting with the island's Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades could prepare the ground for the resumption of negotiations.

But Burcu said Greek Cypriot lawmakers must first fix "mistaken" legislation passed last month that made the commemoration of a 1950 referendum for union with Greece mandatory in Greek Cypriot schools. Akinci blamed the legislation that angered Turkish Cypriots for halting talks.

Burcu hailed an amendment proposed by the largest Greek Cypriot party, DISY, which dilutes the legislation. The amendment could be put to a vote early next month.