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Turkey can play 'great role' in Cyprus reunification

Turkey could play a "great role" in ending the conflict between Greek and Turkish communities on Cyprus as Ankara still has 40,000 troops in Cyprus, the President of the divided island told CNBC.

Cyprus has been split since 1974 when Turkey invaded the north. There is a partition in place and the north is inhabited by Turkish Cypriots and the south by Greek Cypriots.

But hopes of a reunification of Cyprus have risen following a meeting between the two leaders representing each community. At the World Economic Forum in Davos Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss the situation.

"Everyone is realizing that the soonest we can reach a settlement it is going to be much more fair for everyone," Anastasiades told CNBC in a TV interview at Davos.

Nicos Anastasiades.
Georges Gobet | AFP | Getty Images
Nicos Anastasiades.

The president added that it is "not just a Cypriot issue" and Turkey could play a part in resolving the conflict.

"You have to bear in mind that in Cyprus there are still 40,000 Turkish troops, so Turkey could play a great role," Anastasiades said.

"There is for the time being an expression of good will, rhetoric which is in favor of finding a solution, but what we need on the crucial issues is…the real acts on the ground to see how we can face the problems with the presence of troops."

'Through the worst'

Cyprus' economy has been recovering since a banking crisis forced the country to take a 10 billion euro international bailout. The country is now close to exiting the program but the President warned that the country must remain disciplined on economic policy.

"We come through the worst but of course we have to be quite careful .We cannot abandon the policies of discipline and of reforms therefore we are warning the people that yes, we have done a lot, we are getting out of the program, but we have to stick on policies," Anastasiades said.

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