Deadlock in Cyprus reunification talks continues
NICOSIA, March 6 (Xinhua) -- The UN envoy had failed to convince Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to return to the negotiations to attempt to reunify the Greek and Turkish communities on the island, A Cypriot government spokesman told state television on Monday.
After securing the consent of Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to resume the talks, the UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, met with Akinci for three hours on the weekend in an effort to bring him back to the negotiating table.
"We talked to Eide after he spoke with Akinci and his message was that there was no change in the position of the Turkish Cypriot leader," Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.
Akinci withdrew from the negotiations after the all-Greek Cypriot parliament passed an amendment making it mandatory for teachers to speak in class about a 1950 referendum in which the Greek Cypriot community, which makes up 80 percent of the population, expressed its wish to unite with Greece.
That policy was changed in 1960 when Cyprus, until then a British colony, became an independent state. More recently, the reunification of Cyprus or part of it with any state, or the secession of any part of Cyprus was excluded in an agreement between Anastasiades and Akinci when they started negotiations 22 months ago.
During his three-hour meeting with Eide on Saturday, Akinci insisted that parliament reverse its vote before he returned to the negotiations, sources said.
Akinci's demand has caused a strong reaction from lawmakers, even those who fervently support the resumption of the negotiations, as it was considered a move to dictate to parliament how to vote.
A parliamentary committee which considered the bill last week said it had not set a date to debate it.
A UN spokesman in Nicosia said Eide would travel to the United States on Tuesday, where he would meet with U.S. administration officials dealing with the Cyprus problem before coming back later in the week to meet with civil society groups of Turkish and Greek Cypriots who are pressing for the resumption of the negotiations.