Talks on Cyprus Unification Ends Without Agreement

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (R)  and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci meet  on June 2, 2016. (File Photo)Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (R)  and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci meet  on June 2, 2016. (File Photo)

The latest round of talks on ending Cyprus’ 42-year-old division reached an impasse without agreement. The island has been divided since 1974.

Talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island of Cyprus broke up after two days of meetings between Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Akinci at Mont Pelerin on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

The two leaders had made it to the second round of talks this month after 18 months of negotiations and had announced earlier that they were hopeful of finding a solution by the end of the year, AP reported.

“Despite their best efforts, they have not been able to achieve the necessary further convergences on criteria for territorial adjustment that would have paved the way for the last phase of the talks,” UN spokesman Aleem Siddique said in a statement.The island was divided in 1974 when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to a military coup seeking union with Greece. The Turkish invasion resulted in thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots displaced while a resettlement program made sure the Turkish presence on the north of the island remained strong.

The division has become one of the world’s longest-running political disputes.

Anastasiades and Akinci had met earlier in November already to address the key issue of potential territorial readjustments. Territory has been at the heart of the talks, since any peace deal would involve a redrawing of existing boundaries, resulting in some members of both communities being ousted from their current homes.

The percentage of territory to be governed under Turkish Cypriot jurisdiction has been the main sticking point, with Akinci suggesting 29.2% of the island and the Greek Cypriots proposing 28%. Furthermore, the role of the Turkish military in protecting that territory also caused a lot of disagreement between the two parties. Reaching a deal on the issue of territory would have paved the way for a final summit to bring together Greece, Turkey and Cyprus’ former colonial ruler the United Kingdom to agree on how implement security arrangements on the reunified island.

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