Greek Cyprus leader Nicos Anastasiades has announced a presidential bid for the January 2018 election, pledging to revive reunification talks that collapsed in July. Anastasiades promised he would not seek a third term.
Addressing his supporters on Saturday, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades outlined his government's achievements during his term in office. He said he put Cyprus' economy back on a growth trajectory after an economic crisis that brought the island nation on the brink of bankruptcy.
The 71-year-old conservative leader, who is widely credited with leading a renewed bid to reunite Greek and Turkish Cypriots, pledged to revive the peace talks.
"Failure to reach a solution is not in the interest of either Greek or Turkish Cypriots, and naturally, not of Turkey either," Anastasiades said in Nicosia. "I want to believe Turkey will see the benefits of a solution."
Disagreement on Turkey's future role
Reunification talks collapsed in July after the two sides failed to reach a consensus on the status of Turkish forces on the island and Turkey's intervention rights in Cyprus.
Anastasiades faced criticism from his opponents at home for giving too many concessions to Turkish Cypriots in talks.
The island formally split into two in 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the northern part in response to a coup by supporters of Cyprus' union with Greece. The Turkish Cypriots had already pulled out of government institutions in 1963 in response to communal violence; by 1983, they declared their breakaway state.
Cyprus became part of the European Union in 2004, but membership only applied to the southern Greek region. The northern part, heavily dependent on Turkey's support, is only recognized by Ankara.
Read more: Brexit: A view from Cyprus
Elections in Greek Cyprus will be held on January 28, with a runoff a week later if no contender wins a clear majority.
Nicholas Papadopoulos of the center-right DIKO party, former Foreign Minister Girgos Lillikas, and Stavros Malas, who is backed be the communist-linked AKEL party, are the incumbent president's main opponents in the January vote.
shs/sms (Reuters, AP)