The leaders of the divided island of Cyprus have met for talks, their first face-to-face discussions for more than a year. In a perhaps symbolic reflection of the state of relations between the two sides, Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mehmet Ali Talat, met at an abandoned airport complex. In July last year, they agreed to set up working parties to tackle issues affecting all Cypriots. But none of the proposed groups has ever met.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish forces invaded in response to a brief military coup, backed by Athens. Mr Talat recently admitted there was very little trust between the two sides. There are few hopes of an imminent improvement, notably because of elections on the Greek side in February.
Only Turkey recognises Northern Cyprus. Istanbul’s hopes of joining the European Union are threatened, as Cyprus, represented by its Greek Cypriot government, is already a member, with veto rights over Ankara.