The president of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriot leader of breakaway northern Cyprus stand side by side to deliver a joint Christmas message. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader of the breakaway state of northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci, stood side by side on Thursday (December 24) to send a holiday message of peace and their hope for reunification of the island in 2016. The island's Greek and Turkish communities have lived apart since Turkey invaded the north in 1974 after a brief Greek-inspired coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece. But many Cyprus watchers have voiced optimism that a deal may finally be at hand to reunite the east Mediterranean island. The two leaders expressed their wishes in both Greek and Turkish during the televised address on Christmas eve. "I hope that the new year allows us, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, to live once again in peace in a reunified country. Happy Holidays," said Anastasiades, first in Greek then in Turkish. "I hope the new year will bring a permanent peace, calm, and prosperity to all Cypriots. Merry Christmas and happy holidays," said Akinci, first in Turkish then in Greek. Cyprus joined the EU in 2004 but an attempt to use its accession as a lever for reunification failed when Greek Cypriots rejected a U.N. peace plan in a referendum. The breakaway state in the north is recognised only by Turkey for whom Cyprus's partition is an obstacle to Ankara's ambition to join the European Union.