- Title: Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders to meet for talks seen as last peace effort
- Date: 6th January 2017
- Summary: GREEK AND TURKISH-CYPRIOTS FROM A JOINT CHOIR PROMOTING PEACE ON THE ISLAND SINGING OUTSIDE AKINCI'S OFFICE
- Embargoed: 21st January 2017 11:53
- Keywords: Cyprus Turkey island division United Nations talks peace
- Location: MONT PELERIN, SWITZERLAND AND NICOSIA, FAMAGUSTA, AND VARIOUS, CYPRUS
- City: MONT PELERIN, SWITZERLAND AND NICOSIA, FAMAGUSTA, AND VARIOUS, CYPRUS
- Country: Cyprus
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA0065XXXZRB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders are set to meet in the coming days in what a senior United Nations envoy for Cyprus has called a "historic opportunity" to reunite the divided Mediterranean island after decades.
Eighteen months of intensive talks between the estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities will culminate at a meeting in Geneva on January 9, and continue with a high level conference with guarantor powers on January 12.
Espen Barth Eide, the U.N. Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, wrote in the Cyprus Weekly newspaper recently that Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci had demonstrated political will and leadership to end the conflict.
Talks in the Swiss resort of Mont Pelerin in November saw little result, but Anastasiades and Akinci further agreed in December to a high level meeting the following month with representatives of the guarantor powers of the former British colony - Britain, Turkey and Greece.
Cyprus was divided in a Turkish invasion in 1974 prompted by a brief coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece.
Some 800,000 Greek Cypriots and approximately 220,000 Turkish Cypriots live on each side of the divided island split by a buffer zone patrolled by United Nations peacekeepers, where a "no man's land" full of abandoned homes, shops, hotels and other buildings lies empty since 1974.
Peace initiatives - such as the opening of border crossings between the two communities, have improved relations, but a solution has been unattainable due to thorny issues such as territory swaps and property compensation.
A U.N. peace plan put forward in 2004, accepted by Turkish Cypriots, was rejected by Greek Cypriots.
Last month Greek and Turkish Cypriots jointly staged a symbolic protest march, delivering declarations to the offices of the Turkish Cypriot leader in the north and the Greek Cypriot president in the south demanding a solution to the island's division. Protesters said they were optimistic the latest round of talks could bring results.
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