The Earl and Countess of Wessex will highlight links between the UK and Cyprus

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NICOSIA, Cyprus — The Earl and Countess of Wessex met the President of Cyprus on Tuesday as part of a three-day visit to the former British colony to highlight close bilateral ties and meet soldiers serving in a peacekeeping force peace officers and those stationed at two British military bases.

The Earl – the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth and her late husband Prince Philip – and his wife were received by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his wife Andri at the presidential palace in the capital, Nicosia.

Anastasiades was due to discuss with the royal couple ways to strengthen relations between the UK and Cyprus, home to thousands of British expats and many other popular holiday destinations.

The Cypriot president also planned to discuss the government’s latest efforts to relaunch stalled negotiations aimed at reunifying the ethnically divided island nation.

Cyprus was divided in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Numerous rounds of reunification talks with the Turkish Cypriots – whose declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey – have failed.

The royal couple will also meet British peacekeepers inside a UN buffer zone that runs through the Cypriot capital. The Countess will speak with women and young people working to support peace efforts.

The Earl and Countess will be briefed on ongoing operations by British forces stationed at two military bases which the UK retained after Cyprus gained independence in 1960.

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