President Mustafa Akinci and president Nicos Anastasiades depart on Wednesday for the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where they will make a joint appeal to the world’s political and business elite to support efforts to reach a settlement to the Cyprus problem.
The two leaders will share the platform at a special session entitled Reuniting Cyprus.
This comes as it was confirmed on Tuesday that Cyprus is to set in motion the procedure for applying to make Turkish an official language of the EU as it is one of the two official languages of the Republic.
Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said Anastasiades, acting on his own initiative, has instructed bureaucrats to look into the procedure for an application to be filed to the EU.
The move is considered a good will gesture that Anastasiades thinks would positively contribute to efforts to reunify the island.
With the Davos platform set for Thursday, UN and European officials say the prospects of finally reaching a peace deal are better than at any time since Greek Cypriots rejected a UN peace plan in 2004.
“While the world is generally not in good shape, for Cyprus the stars are aligned,” said UN special envoy Espen Barth Eide.
“There’s an interest among the leaders involved. Both Turkey and Greece see advantages to moving on,” Eide told Reuters.
“We have gone from harvesting relatively low-hanging fruit into the hard core deepest areas. We’re in tougher terrain now and both leaders will have to make concessions,” Eide added.
Asked why prospects for a settlement were better now than in 2004, Eide said: “The one major difference is that this time the process is led by the Cypriots and their leaders. My role is to facilitate but we (United Nations) are not putting down our own proposals. Every word is written and agreed to by the sides.”