UN Envoy Warns of Consequences if Cyprus Reunification Talks Collapse

Posted December 1st, 2011 at 11:40 am (UTC-5)
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The United Nations envoy for Cyprus says it is unlikely the ethnically divided island will ever be reunified if the latest peace talks aimed at creating a federation collapse.

Alexander Downer says if the three-year negotiations between internationally recognized Greek Cypriots and the breakaway Turkish Cypriots reach a complete deadlock, it would end the process of trying to reunify Cyprus as a federation.

Downer said the latest round of reconciliation talks has not broken down. But he told Cyprus' state-run television Wednesday night that there is no functional alternative to such a deal.

Some progress has been made in the ongoing talks, which began in 2008, but important differences remain on issues that have been holding up a final settlement, including power-sharing and property rights.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 between the Turkish-controlled north and Greek Cypriot south. The island was split when Turkish troops invaded in response to a military coup aimed at uniting all of Cyprus with Greece.

Turkey is the only country in the world that recognizes the Turkish Cypriot north of the island.