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Cyprus reunification talks falter

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Mustafa Akıncı, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Two leaders accuse one another of walking out as Thursday talks called off

Talks on reunifying Cyprus faltered this week after a planned meeting between the island’s Greek and Turkish leaders for Thursday was called off.

Mustafa Akıncı, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, said he would not attend the talks as a result of a row that broke out over plans to use public schools to commemorate the idea of Cypriot union with Greece.

“Rather than correcting its mistake, the Greek Cypriot side continues to accuse us and claim that we are generating excuses because we do not want to negotiate”, Mr Akıncı said in a statement on his official website on Wednesday.

He said the Greek Cypriot leadership did not accept Greek-Turkish equality in the federal institutions that would make up a united Cyprus.

“They do not accept that a positive Turkish Cypriot vote should be required [to pass decisions] in certain federal institutions where membership is not equal. They continue to insist that a majority Greek vote would be sufficient in such cases.”

Mr Akıncı also accused Republic of Cyprus president Nicos Anastasiades of not delivering “correct messages” to the Greek Cypriot people on the matter of a presidency that rotates between the two communities.

“I regret Mr Akinci’s decision to not attend tomorrow’s meeting,” Mr Anastasiades tweeted on Wednesday.

“I stand ready to resume the dialogue at any time.”

The Republic of Cyprus’s House of Representatives voted earlier this month to mark the anniversary of controversial unofficial referendum, held among Greek Cypriots only in 1950, that produced a vote to unite the island with Greece.

Disy, the party formerly led by President Nicos Anastasiades, abstained from the vote in a move that effectively allowed it to pass. Turkish Cypriots described it as a provocative move.

The vote provoked a confused incident during direct talks between Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akıncı, with both leaders accusing one another of walking out of the negotiations.

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