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UN official urges Cyprus leaders to restart peace talks

By AFP

May 8, 2024 07:55 PM


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The United Nations envoy to Cyprus on Wednesday urged leaders of the divided Mediterranean island to move forward with efforts to revive peace talks to resolve decades of conflict.

New envoy Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar met with Republic of Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides before crossing the UN-patrolled ceasefire line for talks with Ersin Tatar, the leader of the breakaway self-declared state in northern Cyprus.

"My impression is that everyone wants to move forward and have something happen on the island," the Colombian diplomat told reporters after meeting Christodoulides on her second visit to the island.

"I hope the leaders are listening to the people."

The "common ground is in civil society, but we have to move to the leaders and ask them to move forward", she added.

The European Union member state has been divided since 1974 when Turkish forces occupied the island's northern third in response to a military coup sponsored by the junta then in power in Athens seeking to annex the island to Greece.

Only Ankara recognises the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which was proclaimed by Turkish Cypriot leaders in 1983.

Efforts to reunify the island which has been divided for five decades have been at a standstill since the last round of United Nations-backed talks collapsed in 2017.

Greek Cypriots say the stumbling block is the Turkish side's insistence on Cyprus becoming two separate states, while Nicosia backs reunification based on a federal model.

Many observers see this latest UN initiative as a last chance for Cyprus. The UN chief Antonio Guterres has warned in a recent report: "The prospects of a solution that everyone can accept are gradually fading."

"What matters at this moment is to let diplomacy work," Republic of Cyprus spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said Wednesday.

"We hope within the next six months, in the immediate future, the resumption of negotiations will become feasible," he said, adding that the UN envoy would meet again Christodoulides on May 13.


AFP


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