Lead­ers in push for peace deal in Geneva

Malta Independent - - WORLD -

Cyprus lead­ers are hold­ing key peace talks in Geneva, with the UN and se­nior diplo­mats voic­ing op­ti­mism that a re­uni­fi­ca­tion deal is within reach. The for­eign min­is­ters of Greece, Turkey and the UK are in­volved - the coun­tries that act as Cyprus se­cu­rity guar­an­tors. Turkey’s Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim is not go­ing to the talks, de­spite an ear­lier re­port that he would at­tend. The Greek- and Turk­ishCypriot com­mu­ni­ties have been split since 1974. A UN buf­fer zone di­vides them. In 1974 Turk­ish troops in­vaded, fol­low­ing a coup by Greek Cypri­ots backed by the gen­er­als rul­ing Greece at the time. For a deal to take ef­fect it would have to win the sup­port of both Cypriot com­mu­ni­ties in sep­a­rate ref­er­en­dums. UK For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son said the talks “of­fer both sides a unique op­por­tu­nity to find a so­lu­tion”.Ni­cosia buf­fer zone The UN, over­see­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions, says it is the best chance to re­unify the is­land af­ter four decades of divi­sion. The goal is for the two sides to share power in a two-state fed­er­a­tion. The Greek- and Turk­ish-Cypriot lead­ers - Cyprus Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and Mustafa Ak­inci - on Wed­nes­day ex­changed maps propos­ing ter­ri­to­rial bound­aries. It was the first time they had done so, ac­cord­ing to the UN, and was hailed as an im­por­tant ad­vance to­wards a deal. New UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral An­to­nio Guter­res is at­tend­ing the talks in Geneva, his first for­eign trip in the role.

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