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Politics

Cyprus Communist Presidential Candidate Would Restart Unity Talks

NICOSIA – The AKEL Communist candidate for Cyprus’ President, with elections looming in February, said he would immediately try to renew reunification talks with the Turkish-Cypriot occupied side if he wins.

Talking to refugees in the capital Nicosia and Kyrenia, Andreas Mavroyiannis said he would resume talks “from the very first day of his rule,” The Cyprus Mail said, although Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar has rejected them.

“Almost 50 years later, we are still debating what was wrong, who was to blame. We still haven’t talked about traitors, and let everyone talk about betrayal. We still haven’t talked about the criminals, and let everyone talk about the crime. The first thing that needs to be done is the restoration of the truth,” he said.

The paper reported that he said Cyprus needs to be saved, by those “who love peace. Those who insist on crying out for the need for liberation and reunification in both communities. They are the ones who inspire us too, to continue and persevere.”

The last round of talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort Crans-Montana when the then Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said they would never remove a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied northern third.

No other country in the world apart from Turkey recognizes the isolated side but Tatar said he would accept nothing else and has demanded the United Nations accept his conditions, but has been ignored.

The elections to succeed outgoing President Nicos Anastasiades, who is ending 10 years and two terms in office, will be Feb. 5 with a record field of 14 candidates vying to take over from him.

Surveys show that former foreign minister Nikos Christodoulides has a big lead but with so many candidates is likely to fall short of the 50 percent threshold needed to take office, which would require a run-off a week later among the top finishers.

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