UN Chief Joins Cyprus Peace Talks

Nicos Anastasiades (L), Antonio Guterres (C) and Mustafa AkinciNicos Anastasiades (L), Antonio Guterres (C) and Mustafa Akinci

The presence of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at high-level talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus offered a glimmer of hope that an impasse preventing a peace deal could be overcome, officials said Friday.

The east Mediterranean island’s Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades called a morning round of discussions “creative” that “may allow for ways out of the impasse,” AP reported.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias echoed Anastasiades, calling the UN chief’s presence at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana where talks are being held, “useful and beneficial.”

 “The goal, as (Guterres) described it, is for Cyprus to be a normal state like any other UN member state,” Kotzias said.

Asked if rival sides had reached any common ground, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said not yet.

Addressing the rival sides earlier, Guterres said in unscripted remarks that “the emotional and rational” Mediterranean sides of Greeks and Turks are a strength that could be used to resolve problems holding back an agreement, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he’s not authorized to disclose details of the meeting.

Two days of talks have made no real progress on the core issue of the island’s future security that could unlock an overall peace accord.

Guterres is sounding out Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and top diplomats from Cyprus’ “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and Britain — on ways to bridge gaps preventing progress.

Turkey is rebuffing Greek and Greek Cypriot calls to remove all troops from breakaway northern Cyprus after the island is reunified as a federation. It insists that any peace accord should grant Turkish citizens the right to relocate and transfer money, services and goods to the European Union member island.


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