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Greek, Turkish Cypriot Leaders to Hold Talks in Geneva

  • VOA News

A UN soldier stands inside the UN buffer zone divides the Greek south and the Turkish north in the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, Jan. 4, 2017. Cyprus' so-called guarantors Greece, Turkey and Britain will gather in Geneva next week to thrash out the toughest aspect of a peace deal.

Leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus will resume reunification talks Monday after negotiations broke down last month.

Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci agreed to meet in Geneva to discuss the state of the negotiations and to exchange views on how to move forward in the interest of reaching a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible.

The talks are aimed at drafting an agreement on how much territory each side will control in an envisioned federation.

Cyprus map
Cyprus map

If the talks are productive, they will be joined Thursday by the guarantor powers of Cyprus — Britain, which is the former colonial power, Greece and Turkey, as well as the European Union.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was in New York Thursday, speaking with new U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Cavusoglu spoke to reporters on his way out of the U.N. and said the Cyprus talks are coming to the final stage.

He said he was “more optimistic than ever” in reaching a settlement in Cyprus.

A 1974 Turkish invasion following a coup aimed at enosis, or union, with Greece split the island into an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south and a breakaway Turkish-speaking north. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey, which keeps more than 35,000 troops in the north.

Margaret Besheer at the United Nations contributed to this article.