Cyprus leaders to meet on March 21

Cyprus leaders to meet on March 21

Turkish Cyprus leader Mehmet Ali Talat and Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias will meet each other on Friday, March 21st at GMT 0800, a United Nations spokesman said on Wednesday. One of the main issues will be a potential deal to open new crossing points along the U.N.- controlled buffer zone dividing the island. (UPDATED)

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Talat's Special Representative for EU and UN talks Ozdil Nami and Greek Cypriot Administration Commissioner George Iacovou met at buffer zone on Wednesday to discuss the agenda of leaders' summit. The meeting took place in the residence of UN Secretary General's special representative for Cyprus Michael Moller.  

"We will be announcing the meeting shortly. The date of the meeting has been set for March 21st," Jose Diaz, a spokesman for the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cyprus, said after today's meeting.

Christofias was elected last month, pledging to end the stalemate in talks between the Greek and Turkish communities on the divided island, which remains a hurdle to Turkey's European Union aspirations.

Hasan Ercakica, Talat's spokesman, said the possibility of openning the crossing point at Ledra Street would be decided in a Talat-Christofias meeting. "Discussions on opening of the crossing point at Ledra Street took place during Nami's talks with Iacovou on Wednesday," Ercakica said.

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On Wednesday, state radio quoted Iacovou as saying that a key Greek Cypriot objection over Turkish troop patrols near the new Ledra Street crossing point was "not a big problem." Talat aide Nami said there was a "positive mood" on the Ledra Street opening, but that "finalization will be up to the to leaders."

Ledra Street is a busy pedestrian thoroughfare in the heart of Nicosia. The other important crossing point is at Limnitis in the northwest of the island. Ledra Street has come to embody the islands division, and opening a crossing there would be highly symbolic. Five crossing points have been opened since Turkish Cypriot authorities relaxed restrictions in 2003.

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