Visiting Cypriot President Demetris Christofias and Qatar's Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Image Credit: Supplied

Cyprus has requested Qatar to use its relations with Turkey to help reach a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Cypriot President Demetris Christofias made the request during official talks with Qatar's Emir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani on a visit to the Mediterranean island nation.

"Being aware that Qatar maintains very close relations with Turkey, I have expressed to the Emir of Qatar the hope that these relations may be utilized so that Turkey is persuaded that the achievement of a just, viable and functional solution to the Cyprus problem is in the interest of all of us," Christofias said in a statement to the press on Wednesday.

The Cypriot leader said that he had briefed Shaikh Hamad on the latest developments in the Cyprus problem and efforts to reach a settlement and that he thanked him for his understanding."

"Cyprus supports with consistency the solution of the Palestinian problem and more generally of the Middle East problem, on the basis of the UN Security Council resolutions, which provide for the withdrawal of the Israeli troops from the occupied territories and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state," Christofias said. "At the same time, we consider the Arab peace initiative as the cornerstone of any future solution," he said.

Shaikh Hamad, on his first visit to Nicosia, said that he supported Cyrus' efforts for the resolution of the lingering Cyprus problem.

"We note that the solution must be based on the Resolutions of the United Nations and be in the best interest of the two communities of Cyprus," he said. "We are certain that Turkey also wants the resolution of the Cyprus problem and she will contribute towards the direction of the attainment of a just, viable and functional solution of the Cyprus problem."

In his statement to the press, Shaikh Hamad said relations between Qatar and Cyprus were built on sound foundations and noted that he was pleased with the agreements signed.

His trip to Cyprus, like the Cypriot president's trip to Doha last year constituted strong evidence of their intentions to further improving relations between the two countries, he said.

Cyprus and Qatar agreed to set up a $150 million joint venture for the development of a leisure complex and signed two agreements and four memoranda of understanding.

The joint venture is for a project opposite Hilton Hotel in Nicosia that includes a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, offices and apartments.

"The joint investment with Qatari Diar is of special importance. This fact shows the high level of our relations and the rapid development of cooperation between our countries, which seals our wish for the further strengthening of the friendship and solidarity between our peoples," Christofias said.

The agreements and memoranda of understanding include an agreement on air transportation, and MoU between Qatar’s Supreme Council of Health and Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) on cooperation in providing services and education in neurology, genetic diseases and biomedical sciences, an MoU between Qatar’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, an MoU in the fields of standardisation and conformity and an MoU in the field of labour.

Relations between Cyprus and Turkey have been marred since 1974 when Turkish troops landed in the north following an attempted Greek Cypriot coup backed by the military junta ruling in Greece. Ankara said that it wanted to rescue and protect Turks under attack, while the Greeks refer to it as an occupation of Cypriot lands.

The Turks in the north broke away from the Greek Cypriots and in 1983, the north proclaimed itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognized.

Attempts to reunify the island have all failed and Nicosia, referred to it as Lefkosa by the Turks, remains the world's only divided capital.

Cypriot President Christofias, 63, was born in Dhikomo in the area controlled today by Turkey.