Ter­ri­tory row looms over Cyprus talks

The Myanmar Times - - World -

RI­VAL Cypriot lead­ers will broach a multi-bil­lion-euro ter­ri­tory dis­pute this week in Switzer­land as part of UN-backed peace talks aimed at solv­ing one of the world’s longestrun­ning po­lit­i­cal crises.

Ne­go­ti­a­tions are due to dis­cuss the pre­vi­ously in­tractable is­sue of ter­ri­to­rial ad­just­ments on the Mediter­ranean re­sort is­land – a main bone of con­tention dur­ing four decades of dis­cord be­tween its Greek- and Turk­ish-speak­ing com­mu­ni­ties.

Cyprus has been di­vided since 1974, when Turk­ish troops oc­cu­pied its north­ern third in re­sponse to an Athens-in­spired coup seek­ing union with Greece.

UN-bro­kered talks be­tween Greek Cypriot leader Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and his Turk­ish Cypriot coun­ter­part Mustafa Ak­inci be­gan 17 months ago and have been billed as the is­land’s last chance for an en­dur­ing peace deal.

Mr Anas­tasi­ades this week urged both sides to “seize the op­por­tu­nity not only to elim­i­nate or re­duce ex­ist­ing dif­fer­ences ... but to achieve such progress on ter­ri­tory which al­lows us to lead to a fi­nal set­tle­ment”.

But talks have been be­set by prob­lems – in­clud­ing dis­putes over prop­erty and com­pen­sa­tion – and Turk­ish Cypriot for­eign min­is­ter Tahsin Er­tu­gru­loglu said the peace process was “ob­vi­ously a fail­ure”.

An­a­lysts say that any deal hinges on the is­sue of ter­ri­tory swaps, which could see a num­ber of Turk­ish Cypri­ots dis­placed.

The two lead­ers will at­tempt to agree on the in­ter­nal bound­ary be­tween two fu­ture con­stituent states, al­low­ing for the re­turn of some ar­eas in Turk­ish-held north­ern Cyprus to the Greek Cypri­ots.

“Ter­ri­tory is nat­u­rally con­nected to prop­erty is­sues and se­cu­rity be­cause it af­fects the daily life of peo­ple liv­ing near the bor­ders,” Turk­ish Cypriot an­a­lyst Mete Hatay said.

With­out an agree­ment on ter­ri­tory there can be no de­ci­sion on how many refugees can re­turn to their for­mer homes or how the plans for restora­tion, ex­change or huge com­pen­sa­tion of prop­erty will work. –

Photo: AFP

Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades wants both sides to seize the op­por­tu­nity.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.