Cyprus Has New President With Same Old Problem: Reunification

NICOSIA – Cyprus’ new President Nikos Christoulides walked into a job facing a number of challenges, from inflation to more migrants, but the biggest is one no one has been able to solve: reunification.

Cyprus has been divided since two unlawful Turkish invasions in 1974 that seized the northern third of the island where Turkey still keeps 35,000 troops and every attempt at finding an answer has failed miserably.

Christoulides took over from Nicos Anastasiades, who served two terms of 10 years and who, in his first, pushed with the then leader of the occupied Turkish side, Mustafa Akinci, to make some initial headway.

But that fell apart in talks in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Akinci and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the army would never leave and they wanted the right of further military intervention.

In October, 2020, Akinci lost in elections to hardline nationalist Ersin Tatar, who doesn’t want reunification, insisting the United Nations and world recognize the occupied side, a demand leaving it still isolated.

Tatar has shown no interest in talking about anything else but Christodoulides, who was Anastasiades’ Foreign Minister and was at the Swiss debacle, said he wants to take another shot at it.

He left the ruling Democratic Rally (DISY) party to run for President, alienating its leader, Averof Neofytou – who was also a candidate and said he wouldn’t work with the new government.
“A solution to the Cyprus problem is my top priority,” he said before he met with Tatar informally with no serious discussions on the table although Christodoulides said he’ll try to resurrect negotiations.

The new President promised his Cabinet of 25 would have half the spots saved for women but fell just short of that at 11, which drew a rebuke from the opposition Communist AKEL, said the Reuters news agency.


Of 25 appointments announced, 14 were male and 11 female, though there were fewer females in key posts, noted Reuters, adding that two served in prior administrations of Anastasiades.


NICOSIA, Cyprus  — Cyprus said Saturday it’s suspending processing all asylum applications by Syrian nationals because large numbers of refugees from the war-torn country continue to reach the island nation by boat, primarily from Lebanon.

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