An informal meeting between President of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, is underway at the UN Protected Area in Nicosia in an effort to find common ground for the two leaders to resume negotiations after more than two years.
Their morning meeting is the first in the last five and a half months and takes place amid Turkish illegal activities in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and unilateral moves by the Turkish Cypriot side in Varosha, the fenced-off part of Famagusta.
Both leaders were greeted by the UNSG`s Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar. The meeting takes place in Spehar`s residence in the United Nations protected area of the now-defunct Nicosia airport.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.