Independent presidential candidate Achilleas Demetriades met on Wednesday with former Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Speaking after the meeting, Demetriades referred to the bond of friendship and mutual respect that ties Akinci and himself, dating back to the time when his father Lellos was mayor of Nicosia and Akinci was mayor of northern Nicosia. Together they tried to find solutions to the problems a divided capital was facing.

“I experienced firsthand, the anguish but at the same time the determination, that both men showed in order to address the serious issues that a divided Nicosia was facing under very difficult conditions, and to breathe back life and prospect to the old town,” Demetriades said.

He described Akinci as “a person with integrity, determination and vision, then and now”.

“We had a very open and constructive meeting, during which I presented my views on the Cyprus issue and listened to his experiences in the bicommunal talks.”

Demetriades said that both he and Akinci see the large obstacles that exist, and they agreed that communication between the two communities, especially when no bicommunal negotiations are taking place, is vital in forming the basis on which a better future and a common homeland for all Cypriots can be built.

“What I realise every time I meet open-minded Turkish Cypriots, is their deep anxiety in maintaining the identity of their community. Turkish Cypriots are in a constant fight for this, a fight that should not leave us, Greek Cypriots, indifferent, because their success in this is to the benefit of the whole of Cyprus,” Demetriades said.

He thanked Akinci for the meeting and wished him good health, while at the same time he asked him to remain active in public life because Cyprus is in need of his positive approach and way of thinking.

In his remarks, Akinci welcomed Demetriades, saying they both share the same vision for Cyprus but there is still a lot of work to be done until a solution is agreed.

He told Demetriades that what he is seeking to achieve bears a great responsibility and congratulated him on his determination to continue.

He added that he wanted to see the younger generation create the momentum towards a solution, pointing out that both communities must want a solution in order to reach a political settlement.