Turkish Cypriots pull out of Cyprus reunification negotiatio

NICOSIA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Cypriots pulled out of the negotiations aimed at ending the four decades-old division of Cyprus, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said on Wednesday.

He said on Twitter that the United Nations Secretary General's Special Representative and Head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Elisabeth Spehar conveyed to Cypriot President Anastasiades Akinci's decision not to attend a meeting scheduled for Thursday.

A short statement by Spehar herself after meeting Anastasiades said that she had nothing to state at the moment.

She added that she will communicate with UN Secretary General's special adviser on Cyprus, former Norwegian foreign minister Espen Barth Eide, who oversees the negotiations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Spehar was told about Akinci's decision on Tuesday afternoon, shortly after the Turkish Cypriot leader had talks with Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu during a one-day visit to the occupied part of Cyprus.

Akinci said after the talks that he expected Greek Cypriots to make moves to abrogate an amendment to an educational reforms law that would require teachers to make a short speech on the anniversary of a 1950 referendum.

The referendum expressed the will of Greek Cypriots for "enosis(union)" of Cyprus with Greece, which, however, has been abandoned as an official policy when Cyprus became independent in 1960.

Anastasiades accused Akinci of using the vote, which he described as wrong and immaterial for the negotiations, as a pretext to stall the process.

He pointed out that more than 20 months of important progress during the talks cannot be driven to a deadlock because of a historical reference that does not express the policy of any political faction in Cyprus.

Anastasiades added that the Turkish side was using any pretext, real or imaginary, to stall the negotiations as Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan does not want to drive away nationalist voters from an April referendum to approve constitutional changes that would make him an executive president.

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