"Clear understanding" reached in Cyprus peace talks

Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders are meeting in Switzerland amid growing pressure to reach a peace deal that will end over four decades of division in Cyprus.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A woman holds a placard during a demonstration in favour of a peace settlement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots on divided Cyprus, at Ledra's checkpoint of the UN-patrolled "green line" in Nicosia, Cyprus June 28, 2017.

A "clear understanding" has been reached at talks between Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders and their backers on what is needed to reach a comprehensive agreement to reunite the island, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Saturday.

Guterres, who arrived on Friday on the third day of negotiations in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, has lent his weight to the effort to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella.

He gave no details, but said in a statement that he had held a "positive, results-oriented" meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu were also present.

"A clear understanding emerged of the essential elements of a package that might lead to a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus," Guterres' spokesman said in a statement issued on Saturday as political-level talks continued after Guterres left.

"The Secretary-General remains fully engaged in these efforts to deliver a comprehensive settlement to the people of Cyprus."

Alan Duncan, Britain's minister for Europe, and Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, also participated, a UN spokesman said. Greece, Turkey and Britain are the three guarantor powers.

43 years of division

Cyprus was split in a Turkish military intervention in 1974, triggered by a brief Greek-orchestrated coup aimed at annexing the island to Greece.

Turkey supports the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which Turkish Cypriots established in 1983 after years of failed negotiations to restore peace.

Two issues are vexing: Turkish Cypriot demands for a rotating presidency, and Greek Cypriot demands that Turkey pulls all its 30,000 troops off the island.

The Greek Cypriots are also demanding that Turkey renounces its position as guarantor. As outlined by the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, Turkey, Britain and Greece have the right to intervene militarily on the island to preserve peace.

TRTWorld, Reuters