In Cyprus, hopes for a thaw in a long-frozen standoff #WashingtonTimes

Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci shake hands after a meeting at U.N. buffer zone at Ledra Palace Hotel in divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus in September. The heads of Cyprus' Christian and Muslim communities are meeting with the ethnically divided island's rival leaders to lend their support to ongoing reunification talks. (Associated Press)

It ranks among the world’s oldest frozen conflicts, but an “unusual alignment of the stars” is raising new hopes that Cyprus may soon be on the road to reunification, the top diplomat of the divided island’s Turkish Cypriot government said in an interview.

“We have had different dynamics at different times that prevented a solution, but we get the sense that all of the major players now say there is no reason to leave this unresolved,” Emine Colak, foreign minister for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), said on a visit to Washington Monday. “That is something I don’t think we have ever had to this degree before.” Cyprus has been divided into a Greek ethnic majority and a smaller Turkish population since 1974, when a coup by pro-Greek forces was followed by an invasion of troops from Turkey to protect the Turkish minority. The TRNC unilaterally declared its independence in 1983, but is still only formally recognized by Ankara.

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