The proposals made by President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades have placed the Republic of Cyprus in a leading position on the Cyprus issue, for the first time in many years, Deputy Government Spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos has said.

Asked to comment on recent statements by British High Commissioner in Nicosia Matthew Kidd that it would be wonderful if the fenced off city of Famagusta was returned, Papadopoulos said that it is a fact that the international community shares the President’s concerns for the need for adequate preparations before peace talks resume, as well as that Turkey needs to take a step forward so that the right atmosphere can be created and the people’s trust regained and when talks resume a solution can be achieved as soon as possible.

The President’s proposal to appoint a negotiator and his proposal for the return of the fenced off city of Famagusta to its residents under UN aegis both accepted by the international community and everyone involved in the Cyprus issue, as well as the prerequisites put forward by the President, have placed the Republic of Cyprus for the first time in many years in a leading position as regards the Cyprus issue and initiatives thereof, he added.

Cyprus was divided in 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third.

Dubbed a “ghost town”, Famagusta’s fenced off section – called Varosha – remains to this day deserted, abandoned to the elements. Efforts over the years for the legitimate citizens of Famagusta to return to the city have met the refusal of the Turkish side.

A new effort has been launched recently by President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades, who submitted a proposal for the return of Famagusta and the use of its port by the Turkish Cypriots for exports to EU countries.

The President believes this would help build confidence, proving that the two communities on the island could coexist peacefully in conditions of prosperity and peace.

Previous UN led efforts to reunite the country have failed. New talks are expected to resume in the autumn

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