Former Cyprus President Glafkos Clerides Dies at 94
    2013-11-16 04:43:39     Xinhua       Web Editor: Cui

Former president of Cyprus Glafkos Clerides died in a hospital in capital Nicosia on Friday at the age of 94.

His death was announced by his personal physician and longtime friend Iossif Kassios.

"(Former) President Clerides died at 6.20 p.m. (1620 GMT) today. Next to his bed were his daughter and son-in-law," Kassios said, adding that he was admitted in a private medical center on Wednesday after feeling indisposed.

Clerides lived in seclusion over the last few years at his sea-side residence near the southern city of Larnaca and only made rare public appearances at special events. His most recent one at the inauguration in March of current President Nicos Anastasiades, leader of DISY party, which was founded by Clerides in 1986.

Clerides served two presidential terms between 1993 and 2003, which culminated in the successful conclusion of European Union accession negotiations, although the accession treaty was signed by his successor, Tassos Papadopoulos in 2004.

He held a central role in the establishment and the political life of Republic of Cyprus, having been a member of the Cypriot team which negotiated independence for the eastern Mediterranean island after a four-year guerilla war which ended 80 years of British colonial rule in 1960.

Clerides was also head of the Greek Cypriot team on the commission which drafted the constitution for Cyprus and then was elected to the post of president of the House of Representatives, becoming number two in the state's hierarchy.

Clerides initiated talks with the Turkish Cypriot community in 1968 aimed at bringing back together the island's Greek and Turkish Cypriots after they fell apart shortly after independence.

He almost succeeded in reaching a settlement, but it was opposed by the Greek army junta which staged a coup that toppled and drove into exile the state's president Archbishop Makarios in 1974. The island of Cyprus has been divided along ethnic lines since 1974 when Turkey militarily intervened in response to the coup by the Greek officers.

As second in command, Clerides became transitional president for six months. Clerides was elected president in February, 1993 and was reelected in 2003.

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