North and South Cyprus have agreed to form a joint military force, Greek Cypriot Defence Minister Christoforos Fokaides reportedly told Greek Cypriot daily ‘Phileleftheros’.
According to the daily’s interview with Fokaides, both sides had agreed to form a professional armed forces in which current active duty officers will continue their in their posts and compulsory military service will be abolished on the island. Citing the United Nations as his source, the minister said leaders of both sides of the divided island agreed in principle to form a joint military.
Last this month, President Mustafa Akıncı said that the Cyprus reunification talks could see a breakthrough later this year, “It may be seen as an ambitious date to talk about 2016, but if we continue with this determination after the elections in Greek Cyprus, we can have a breakthrough, we can conclude an agreement on the main principles,” Akıncı said in Berlin.
He made these comments at a panel discussion at the Friedrich Ebert Foundation following talks with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. There will be elections in South Cyprus in May and Akıncı said he hoped both sides will achieve further progress on the settlement, leaving minor details to next year. “If we conclude everything within months on the political side, on the basic principles, on the territory issue, on the security issue, property and other remaining main issues, then it is not very important if we extend into 2017 certain other parts that will be worked out,” he said.