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World

AFP
January 11, 2017
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Greek, Turkish Cypriots rally to support peace talks

Greek, Turkish Cypriots rally to support peace talks

NICOSIA: Hundreds of Greek and Turkish Cypriots held a peace rally in the divided capital of Nicosia on Tuesday to support their leaders attending peace talks towards reunifying the Mediterranean island.

The gathering came after Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci returned to the negotiating table in Geneva on Monday.

"Nico-Mustafa, come back with a solution," read a poster at the rally between checkpoints in Europe´s last divided capital.

The Beatles´ hit "Come Together" played on the loud speaker before the rally called for by dozens of associations, unions and political parties from both sides of the island.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded in 1974 in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Nine years after the island was divided, Turkish Cypriot leaders declared a breakaway state in the north only recognised by Ankara and where Turkey now deploys tens of thousands of troops.

"We want to put pressure on our leaders and show the international community that we request peace," said Greek Cypriot Andy Theocharous, 20, standing among friends from both sides of the island.

Hera Celiker, 21, a Turkish Cypriot sociology student, said: "I always hear stories from my grandparents about the old days and I always wondered how it feels to live together."

Akinci and Anastasiades have been negotiating for more than 18 months leading up to the UN-backed peace talks in Geneva.

The meeting -- set to wrap up on Wednesday -- is the third time the Cypriot leaders have met in Switzerland since November, but the two previous rounds were inconclusive.

The outcome of the meeting is far from certain, with deep divisions remaining on core issues such as property and territorial adjustments.

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