Talks to resolve the division of ethnically-divided Cyprus have been showing encouraging results, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guturres said on Thursday, but cautioned against expectations of a quick fix.
Flanked by Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Guterres said instruments were needed to implement an end to a conflict which has defied mediation for decades.
"Our goal here is to get the necessary results, and to do that we want to work seriously for the amount of time that is necessary," he said. "We are facing so many situations of disaster, we badly need a symbol of hope. I strongly believe Cyprus can be the symbol hope of the beginning of 2017."
Guterres is chairing a security conference on Cyprus in Geneva, attended by the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Britain who are guarantor powers of the island under a convoluted treaty system which granted Cyprus independence from Britain in 1960.
The island was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief coup engineered by Greek and Greek Cypriot nationalists trying to unite the island with Greece. [Reuters]