Eroğlu hosts Greek Cypriot opposition leader

July 07, 2010, Wednesday/ 17:28:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN WITH WIRES
Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu has hosted the Greek Cypriot opposition leader at a dinner, discussing the ongoing talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders.

Speaking to reporters after the dinner at his house in Lefkoşa, Eroğlu said the meeting with Democratic Rally (DISI) leader Nicos Anastasiades was “useful,” adding that he would visit the Greek Cypriot politician at his home soon.

Anastasiades, for his part, emphasized that a solution to the Cyprus problem would require political will and said the two sides should look to the future with courage. Eroğlu, elected as the Turkish Cypriot president in April, has resumed talks with Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias on reuniting the island. The process, which has been under way since September 2008, has produced little progress so far. Eroğlu has recently warned that the talks should be concluded by the end of the year.

The Cyprus problem complicates Turkey’s bid to join the European Union as well, with the Greek Cypriots who represent the entire island in the EU threatening to block progress in Ankara’s accession talks unless it wins concessions on Cyprus. Greek Cypriot newspapers reported this week that Christofias had said during a meeting with Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s chief EU negotiator, that his government would allow the opening of EU talks on some of the negotiating chapters with Turkey in exchange for the return of the quarter of Varosha currently in the Turkish section of the island. But Bağış’s office denied the reports late on Monday, saying there was no recent meeting with Christofias and emphasizing that Christofias should discuss matters concerning Cyprus with Eroğlu.

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