Anastasiades and Akinci standing side by side wish for a solution to the Cyprus problem in 2016.
Nicosia.- Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, stood side by side on Thursday, December 24, to send a holiday message of peace and their hope for reunification of the island in 2016, in a joint televised message on the occasion of Christmas and New Year.
“I wish the New Year will allow us, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, to live once more peacefully in a reunited country. Happy Holidays”, said President Anastasiades, according to an official announcement.
From his part, Akinci noted: “I hope the New Year will bring a permanent peace, calm, and prosperity to all Cypriots. Merry Christmas and happy holidays.”
The two leaders expressed their wishes in both Greek and Turkish. The messages aimed to reaffirm their commitment to reach a peace deal as negotiations enter their eighth month.
Many Cyprus watchers have voiced optimism that a deal may finally be at hand to reunite the east Mediterranean island.
“Joint Christmas wishes best symbol of hope for a great European Cyprus in 2016” said Chief Spokesperson and deputy general director for communication of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas.
The twitter message was uploaded by Schinas, on his personal twitter account, as a comment to the joint Anastasiades – Akinci video message, for which he also provided a link to.
European Commission’s SPP twitter accounts and messages fall into the active policy and communication strategy of the EC and the hope expressed by chief spokesperson Schinas is fully in line with president Juncker’s belief for 2016 to be the year of reunification.
Cyprus has been divided since the 1974 Turkish invasion. The latest round of UN peace talks began in May this year to help find a negotiated settlement that would reunite the country under a federal roof.
Talks between Anastasiades and Akinci for a settlement of the Cyprus problem will resume next month, with the two leaders scheduled to hold three meetings – on January 7, 14, and 29.
The two will also attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, from January 20 to 23.
Rumours that UN special envoy Espen Barth Eide planned to hold an unofficial meeting between the two leaders and the three guarantor powers in Davos, which had political parties up in arms over the prospect of elevating Akinci’s status to Anastasiades’ equal, have been denied by both sides.