Turkish Cypriot leader meets UN mission chief to Cyprus

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    President Mustafa Akinci receives Elizabeth Spehar ahead of unofficial meeting between Turkish, Greek Cypriot leaders

     Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci on Tuesday received the UN head of peacekeeping force in Cyprus at capital Lefkosa.

    The meeting with Elizabeth Spehar took place at the presidential palace.

    Presidential spokesperson Baris Burcu and the president’s Special Advisor on Diplomacy and EU Affairs Erhan Ercin were also present during the meeting.

    In her remarks following the hour-long meeting with Akinci, Spehar described the meeting as productive, saying they discussed next week’s unofficial meeting between Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders.

    She dubbed the yet-to-be held meeting as a good chance for a one-on-one conversation between Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiadis.

    Spehar added that she would also meet Anastasiadis during the week.

    On Monday, Spehar will host the meeting between the two leaders for the first time since peace talks to reunite the island failed last July.

    The unofficial meeting will be held at Spehar’s residence in the buffer zone at 19:00 local time (1600GMT), according to a UN statement.

    The UN has sought a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella that could also define the future of Europe’s relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

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