Turkey- Kerry says peace 'within reach' on Cyprus| MENAFN.COM

Saturday, 02 July 2022 09:09 GMT

Turkey- Kerry says peace 'within reach' on Cyprus

(MENAFN- The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Peace is within reach in Cyprus U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has said a day before the two Cypriot leaders met on Dec. 4 as part of the peace talks.

“In recent months it has become clear that the ground really is shifting and tangible progress is being made” Kerry said Dec. 3 after separate meetings withGreekCypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Aknc according to Reuters. The three dined together afterwards.

“I am more convinced than ever that a resolution to the long-standing division of Cyprus is within reach” Kerry added.

Kerry’s visit came after the special adviser of the U.N. Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide last week announced “further progress” in talks. Hopes for a peace deal have risen after leaders on both sides resumed negotiations in May.

A day after Kerry visited the island Aknc and Anastasiades came together in Nicosia to make further progress in the peace talks after having met six times in November to speed up a solution to the 40-year-old separation. The two leaders are scheduled to meet once again on Dec. 15 state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

“A united Cyprus will stand as a beacon of hope in a tumultuous part of the world” Kerry said alluding to Syria’s civil war that has sent millions of refugees streaming into Jordan Turkey and Lebanon and now into Europe.

Kerry is the latest foreign official to voice optimism that a deal may finally be at hand to reunite the east Mediterranean island divided since 1974.

PopularGreekand Turkish Cypriot leaders want a settlementGreeceand Turkey have other problems and the discovery of offshore gas could cushion the cost.

Aknc praises Kerry’s visit

In a separate press conference Aknc expressed his pleasure at Kerry’s meeting.

“The U.S. reaffirmed its will and determination [to find] a solution in Cyprus and its desire to help us [during the negotiation process]” he said.

During his speech Aknc also refuted reports that the U.S. had lifted an embargo on exporting weapons to theGreekCypriot administration.

“We’ve discussed the topic [with Kerry] this evening as well. Such a decision is out of the question” he said adding: “It is clear that it will not be helpful to the [negotiation] process. So we believe that such a development will not happen.”

The island’sGreekand Turkish communities have lived apart since Turkey invaded the north in 1974 after a Greek-inspired coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece.

One of the world’s oldest peacekeeping forces monitors a 180-kilometer ceasefire line that slices across the island and bisects the capital Nicosia.

Cyprus joined theEuropean Unionin 2004 but an attempt to use its accession as a lever for reunification failed whenGreekCypriots rejected a U.N. peace plan in a referendum.

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