Cypriots Optimistic About Unification Talks

New leadership appears to have sides closer than ever to ending 34-year division
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 3, 2008 3:23 PM CDT
Cypriot president Dimitris Christofias, right, and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat are seen during their statement after their meeting at a UN compound today.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The Greek and Turkish halves of Cyprus are meeting for re-unification talks today, and for once, it looks like the island might actually come together, Der Spiegel reports. Both sides are led by like-thinking leaders who played no role in the island’s 1974 division. Many issues still separate the sides, but seem less daunting than before.

“We have a common will and a common desire,” said Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Chrisofias. The UN special envoy to Cyprus, meanwhile, didn’t hesitate to call the meeting “a historic day,” predicting a reconciliation that will “be an inspiration for a troubled world.” Such optimism has been absent in recent years, as entrenched old-guard leaders failed spectacularly in every reunification attempt.