UN says two sides will meet for talks on future of the divided island on March 21.
He acknowledged that the two sides still disagree on certain issues, but said that “we shall examine any possible disagreements together,” adding that “we have to be optimistic”.
Reunification talks stalled in 2004 and diplomats feared a continuing stalemate would entrench partition in a conflict harming Turkey’s EU entry hopes and relations with Nato partner Greece.
|“The gap is not so big, and it will not be difficult for them to build bridges for an agreement for the new process”
Peter Millet, Britain’s high commissioner in Cyprus
Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived estranged since a Turkish invasion in 1974 in response to a brief Greek-inspired coup.
When the two leaders met they shook hands and posed for photographers when they met. When asked if they would have coffee together, Christofias replied: “We will have Cypriot coffee together.”
Both sides also agreed to open a crossing at Ledra Street, a busy pedestrian shopping street that runs across the dividing line in the capital Nicosia.
Michael Moller, UN special representative to Cyprus, said the crossing would open “as soon as technically possible”.
Eleni Mavrou, Nicosia’s mayor, told state CyBC television that work would start on dismantling the barriers on Monday and that a crossing could open the following week.
It will be the sixth crossing point opened since April 2003 when Turkish Cypriots for the first time lifted entry restrictions for Greek Cypriots.