Both sides of the political divide in Cyprus have renewed efforts to reunite the island more than 40 years after a Turkish invasion split it in two.
The Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart musfafa Akinci met in the Swiss Alpine resort of Crans-Montana, joined by senior UN and EU officials plus the foreign ministers from Greece and Turkey.
The UN Secretary-General’s special adviser on Cyprus set out the objectives.
“The biggest success would be an actual comprehensive agreement. That’s hard, but not impossible, in the sense that so much has been discussed that you know, if this is really productive and we take our time and we focus on the essentials, it is not beyond reach. It could happen. Short of that, we could have not a framework deal, but a breakthrough on the key issues,” mediator Espen Barth Eide told a news conference.
The United Nations is seeking a peace deal which would unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella and which could define the future of Europe’s relations with Turkey.
A draft UN document intended to steer the talks was rejected by both sides.
It’s thought objections revolved around how a security structure would be implemented.
‘‘The document has not been withdrawn. That’s a wrong expression. We simply concluded that it’s not common. We presented it, it exists, it’s not common. So we are not using it as a common platform,’‘ Espen Barth Eide said.
The talks, described by the UN mediator as the “best, but not the last chance” for a settlement, are due to last till July 7. Any deal would be put to a referendum of both Cypriot communities later this year.
Most issues have been agreed on but resolving the sticking points on security and guarantees remains stubbornly elusive.
Historic opportunity to solve decades-old problem:— UN Political Affairs (@UN_DPA) June 28, 2017
EspenBarthEide</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/UN_DPA">UN_DPA chief Feltman at Conference on #Cyprus: https://t.co/6jMclh99yt pic.twitter.com/EF0yk2aSqb