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Leaders agree to further talks on Cyprus

November 12, 2016

UN-sponsored talks between Greek and Turkish leaders in Switzerland have achieved significant progress. They will resume later this month with the aim of reaching a reunification deal before the end of the year.

Zypern Friedensgespräche in Mont Pelerin
Image: Picture-Alliance/dpa/F. Coffrini

"During these past five days, the chapter on territory and all other issues were discussed interdependently. Significant progress has been achieved," said a brief statement released by the United Nations late Friday night.

Friday was the last scheduled day of a week of talks between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Mustafa Akinci, the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, in Mont Pelerin, Switzerland.

The UN statement said the two leaders had decided to "take a recess and reconvene in Geneva" on November 20 to "continue their deliberations."

Mapping the territory

One of the outstanding issues between the two parties is believed to be how the future two-zone Cyprus should be mapped. This would include the land area of the two sides, the number of Greek Cypriots under Greek administration and the length of each coastline.

The UN said significant progress has been made on territory, as well as other interconnected issues such as how many people will be able to reclaim homes and property lost during the 1974 invasion by Turkey. Greek Cypriots have said territorial adjustments must allow for at least 100,000 people to reclaim their lost homes and property.

Karte Zypern NEUSTAND Januar 2017 ENGLISCH

Security issues

In addition to exchanges of territory, Greek Cypriots who represent Cyprus in the European Union are determined that any agreement includes the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the island. 

The division of the island goes back to a Turkish invasion in 1974 following a coup aimed at uniting Cyprus with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence and maintains more than 35,000 troops in the north of the Mediterranean island.

A final summit would focus on how security would be provided for a federal Cyprus, according to the UN. Turkish Cypriots want Turkey to be able to intervene on their behalf, while Greek Cypriots have rejected the idea.

jm/cmk (Reuters, AP)

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