Nicosia.- By Elias Mavrokefalos/ CNA
Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have sent a message of peace and hope for Cyprus and the new generations. The two leaders had on Saturday a social meeting in old Nicosia at both sides of the divide, expressing their determination, political will and sharing a common vision to reach a peaceful settlement in Cyprus as soon as possible.
Anastasiades and Akinci met at 11 am, at the Ledras street check point and walked to the occupied north of the old city of Nicosia in an euphoric climate created by shop owners and people gathered to applause them and to call for Cyprus solution.
Accompanied by Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides, Nicosia Mayor Constantinos Yiorkadjis and Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, Akinci`s so called spokesman Baris Burcu, Nicosia`s Turkish Cypriot `mayor` Mehmet Harmanci and the Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami, they arrived at the Buyuk Han where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots welcomed them with an applaud.
At the Buyuk Han they had Cypriot coffee and Turkish Cypriot sweet ekmek kadayifi.
The two leaders sat at a coffee shop in the northern occupied part of the old city of Nicosia for about 45 minutes.
Later on they crossed together to the government controlled part of the old city of Nicosia where they walked on Ledras street. On their way to Phaneromenis square where they sat for zivania, the traditional Cypriot spirit, and mezze, a traditional platter of hors d`oeuvres (appetizers), they chatted with shop owners and people who urged them once more to reach a Cyprus settlement.
“I want to send the strongest message that, we shall work tirelessly in order to find a peaceful solution at the earliest possible” President of the Republic said to reporters.
“This is the strong message I would like to convey to both communities, that we are condemned by history (to do this) and this is our duty. Peace for everyone on this island” he added.
On his part Mustafa Akinci said that today is an important day for Cyprus. “We very much would like to give the message of hope because after so many disappointments we need this hope. But, of course, what we need more is not to create yet another disappointment” he noted.
He added in jest that as it is believed that Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, are very good at eating and drinking but when it comes to business, when it comes to the negotiating table they are not as good, the two leaders “need to prove the opposite.”
Akinci also spoke about a very good beginning indicating that what is more important is to proceed even better and to reach the final goal even much better.
“So I want to convey my best wishes to the Greek Cypriot community that we are determined and we have the political will and the shared vision to finally see and achieve better days for our younger generations” he added.
Replying to a reporter Akinci also expressed readiness to repeat this type of social engagement with President Anastasiades in Limassol, the city on Cyprus` southern coast where both leaders come from.