Cypriot leaders will meet for dinner on Sunday in an effort by the UN to restart stalled reunification talks for the divided island, officials said.
“The Special Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, Mr. Espen Barth Eide, will host a dinner for the Greek Cypriot leader, Mr. Nicos Anastasiades, and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mr. Mustafa Akıncı, on Sunday 2 April,” said a brief UN statement on Monday.
The dinner will be held at Nicosia’s Ledra Palace Hotel within the UN- controlled buffer zone.
This is not the first time that dinner diplomacy has been used to thaw the climate on problematic Cyprus peace negotiations.
An impasse in Cyprus peace talks will be overcome following a war of words between rival Cypriot leaders that jeopardise reunification efforts, a UN envoy said on Friday.
UN-backed peace talks came to a standstill in February in a row over state schools marking the anniversary of a 1950 enosis referendum in support of union with Greece.
In mid-February Akinci suspended his participation in the 22-month process in protest at Cyprus parliament’s approval of the law amendment.
Since then the climate of trust between the sides has deteriorated with each side blaming the other over the stalled process. Akinci said he would only return to the talks once the Enosis law was scrapped.
And this week MPs are expected to agree on amending the enosis bill by allowing the education minister to decide on such issues and not parliament. Once passed the minister is expected to change the school policy on Enosis.
The two sides have been engaged in fragile peace talks since May 2015 that observers have seen as the best chance in years to reunify the island.
Much of the progress until now has been based on the strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci.