Cyprus Reunification Talks End Without Solution

Posted July 7th, 2011 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
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U.N. mediated talks on reunifying the divided island of Cyprus have ended without agreement in Geneva. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hosted Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu for the third session of Cyprus talks since November.

Mr. Ban says progress in healing the decades-long division of the island is far too slow, but says Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot sides have worked steadily to move ahead, and he expects an agreement by October about the future of the divided island.

He said Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders agreed to intensify their negotiations on the core issues when they return to the island.

The major issue of contention is finding a way to reinstate ownership rights to the thousands of people who were forced to abandon their property following a 1974 Turkish invasion of the island.

Other core issues include governance and power sharing, economy, territory and security, citizenship, and European Union membership. The Greek Cypriot part of the island is an EU member, the Turkish part is not.

Some analysts believe the prospect of the Greek Cypriots taking over the six-month rotating EU presidency a year from now might act as an incentive to seal a deal.

The U.N. Security Council expressed concern last month at the slow pace of negotiations and urged Cypriot leaders to intensify their efforts. The council extended the mandate of the U.N. peacekeeping force in Cyprus, which has about 850 troops and 65 international police, for six months, until December 15.