NICOSIA (Reuters) – Cyprus announced a series of gestures to support estranged Turkish Cypriots on Friday, days before the visit of a United Nations envoy who will assess prospects for the resumption of long-stalled peace talks.
The list of 14 measures includes expediting the examination of citizenship applications, broadening access for Turkish Cypriots to a range of state services, and easing bottlenecks at crossing points between the two sides of the island.
“We remain committed in our efforts to create the conditions for the resumption of the negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem based on the United Nations Security Council Resolutions, and the principles and the European Union acquis,” Cyprus’ presidency said in a statement.
Cyprus was split in two following a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek Cypriot coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. Attempts to reunite the island have repeatedly failed.
Activists say thousands of Turkish Cypriots of mixed marriages face long delays in getting Cypriot citizenship.
Greek Cypriots – whose government is internationally recognised as representing the entire island – live in the south, and Turkish Cypriots in an unrecognised breakaway state in the north.
Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, a former foreign minister of Colombia, was appointed personal envoy to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres last month. She is due to visit the island next week for talks with the two communities.
(Reporting by Michele Kambas, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)
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