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Talks on unification of Cyprus fail to strike deal: UN

22 November 2016 11:49

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The United Nations says the latest round of talks between rival leaders on unifying Cyprus after 42 years have broken up without agreement.

Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had been negotiating in the Swiss resort of Mont Pelerin but the UN said on Tuesday they failed to strike a deal.

“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,” it said in a statement.

The two sides, the UN added, have decided to return to Cyprus and “reflect on the way forward.”

The rival leaders held their first round of the negotiations on November 7-11 trying to resolve one of Europe’s longest-running territorial disputes and the UN said then the negotiations had made considerable “progress”.

The island country has been divided since 1974 into a breakaway Turkish-speaking north and a Greek-speaking south after a military coup by individuals who sought to unify the island with Greece. Turkey responded by deploying thousands of troops in Cyprus’s north.

Some 800,000 Greek Cypriots and about 220,000 Turkish Cypriots live on the island with a UN-patrolled Green Line dividing it.

Anastasiades and Akinci are leading their respective communities and the negotiations were directed towards reuniting Cyprus as a loose federation of two constituent, largely self-governing states.

Greek Cypriots who represent Cyprus in the European Union are adamant that a deal see the withdrawal of more than 35,000 Turkish troops from the island.

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