UN envoy sees Cyprus talks resuming in October

The United Nations’ chief envoy for ethnically divided Cyprus said on Tuesday he anticipated a resumption of peace talks in October after a lull of more than a year.

Reunification talks between estranged Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been stalled for the past 14 months, in part because of financial turmoil engulfing the island and its need for an international bailout.

“They are looking to starting talks in October,” said UN special adviser Alexander Downer, referring to the two sides. “That is the indication they are giving and obviously there is a lot of work that needs to be done from now until then.”

Cyprus has been split along ethnic lines since a 1974 Turkish invasion.

Turkey keeps some 30,000 troops in the north of Cyprus where it supports a breakaway Turkish Cypriot government which is not recognized internationally.

Ankara refuses to recognize the government of Cyprus, run by Greek Cypriots, which is a member of the European Union. Turkey’s stance hurts its own bid to join the EU.

The peace talks are focused on reuniting the island as a federation, but have repeatedly stumbled on such issues as how to share power, redraw territorial boundaries and guarantee property rights to tens of thousands uprooted by the conflict.

Once talks resume, they will be led by interlocutors appointed by the two sides, a departure from the previous format in which the leaders of the two communities engaged directly in the negotiations. [Reuters]

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