Channel NewsAsia

Athens backs fresh talks to unify Cyprus

Greece gave its backing to renewed talks on unifying Cyprus following discussions between its prime minister and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

ATHENS: Greece gave its backing on Friday to renewed talks on unifying Cyprus following discussions between its prime minister and Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades.

Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said he had held "detailed discussions" with Anastasiades on the resumption of talks, which he described as "one of the leading priorities of Greek foreign policy".

Recent days have seen Greek and Turkish Cypriots working feverishly to finalise a joint declaration that would allow them to restart UN-sponsored negotiations, that have been suspended since 2012.

The two sides will "sit around the table and will be responsible for driving the negotiations towards a solution," Samaras said.

He added that any proposed solution should be put to a popular referendum to guarantee "the largest national consensus" possible.

The last round of talks was suspended in 2012 when Cyprus took over the rotating presidency of the European Union in summer 2012.

"We will very quickly finalise this joint declaration which will outline fundamental principles and the basis for a solution," said Anastasiades.

Cyprus has been cut in half since the Turkish invasion of 1974 in reaction to a planned coup which aimed to return the island nation to Greek control.

The divided island joined the EU in 2004, after the failure of an accord to reunify the island that was approved by the Turkish half but rejected by the Greek-Cypriots.

Tweet Photos, Videos and Update on this Story to  #cna