NEWS

UN conference on Cyprus gets under way on Wednesday

TAGS: Cyprus, Diplomacy

United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide said on Tuesday that there are no guarantees of success at Wednesday’s Cyprus Conference in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, but insisted that it remains an opportunity for a breakthrough “as there is an awareness that there is no time like the present.”

“Make no mistake, it is not going to be easy,” he said of the effort, and described the summit as the “most complex” round in the series of talks.

He added that the talks between Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci will last as long is required, but noted that according to UN plans they will last until July 7.

The conference, which aims to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella, will also be attended by foreign ministers of guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain.

Although mediators say that both sides have come far closer to deal than any time before, there are still many rivers to cross as sticking points remain, such as territorial adjustments, property, governance and power sharing, as well as the presence of more than 30,000 Turkish troops.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres struck an optimistic note. “The opportunity for the reunification of Cyprus is now finally before us,” he said in a written statement, and called “all concerned players to seize this opportunity, for Cyprus first and foremost, but also for the wider Eastern Mediterranean region.”

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