Cyprus welcomes Turkey-Greece agreement to talk on Cyprus problem

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NICOSIA, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Cyprus on Thursday welcomed an agreement between the foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece to start meetings to explore each other's positions on the security aspect of a settlement of the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said in a statement that the agreement was an important development in the context of efforts to end the division of the eastern Mediterranean island.

He said Greek Foreign Minister George Katrougalos briefed him on his talks with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu earlier on Thursday, at which they also agreed on confidence building measures by the two countries.

Christodoulides said he was informed by Katrougalos that the deputy foreign ministers of the two countries will meet on April 12 in Athens to explore each other's positions on how to replace the current system of guarantees for Cyprus with a new security system after a solution of the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus was partitioned when Turkey sent troops to intervene in the northern part of Cyprus in 1974, in response to a coup by the military rulers of Greece at the time.

More than 40 years of negotiations came to an end in July 2017, when participants at an international conference in Switzerland - Greek and Turkish Cypriots and guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain - failed to agree on a blueprint submitted by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

A United Nations official has been tasked by the Secretary General to explore the positions of the parties involved on the prospects or restarting the Cyprus peace negotiations.

Christodoulides said that the UN official, Jane Holl Lute, is expected to be back in Cyprus in the first 10 days of April to further explore the prospects of continuing the negotiations. Enditem

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