UN chief opens Cyprus meet­ing in Geneva

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - World News - — AFP.

GENEVA. — New UN chief An­to­nio Guter­res opened a crunch con­fer­ence yes­ter­day aimed at end­ing decades of divi­sion in Cyprus, billed as the “very last chance” to solve one of the world’s long­est-run­ning po­lit­i­cal crises.

Guter­res was un­der­tak­ing his first for­eign trip as UN chief in a bid to achieve a break­through at the Geneva sum­mit that also in­volves ri­val Cypriot sides as well as Greece, Turkey and for­mer colo­nial power Bri­tain.

The eastern Mediter­ranean is­land has been di­vided since 1974, when Turk­ish troops in­vaded in re­sponse to an Athens-in­spired coup seek­ing union with Greece. Yes­ter­day’s multi-party talks fol­low three days of ne­go­ti­a­tion be­tween ri­val Greek Cypriot and Turk­ish Cypriot lead­ers aimed at forg­ing a united, twozone fed­er­a­tion.

The in­tra-Cypriot talks have fo­cused on thorny do­mes­tic is­sues such as ter­ri­tory and what a fu­ture, uni­fied govern­ment might look like.

UN Cyprus en­voy Espen Barth Eide has called this week “the mo­ment of truth” and in­sisted that a deal to solve the long-stand­ing divi­sion was within reach. In a cru­cial step, Greek Cypriot Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades and Turk­ish Cypriot leader Mustafa Ak­inci late Wed­nes­day ex­changed maps de­tail­ing their vi­sions of how in­ter­nal bound­aries should be re­drawn.

Turk­ish Cypriot lead­ers have agreed in prin­ci­ple to re­turn some of the land they have con­trolled since the failed 1974 coup.

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