UN Hopeful Despite ‘Limited Progress’ on Cyprus

Posted January 25th, 2012 at 12:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Efforts to reunify the divided island of Cyprus are moving into the final phase despite “limited progress” during talks this week in New York.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke about the situation to reporters in New York Wednesday, following two days of discussions with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Dervis Eroglu.

The secretary-general said the talks are “robust” but urged both leaders to take decisive action to reach a final agreement. Mr. Ban said if enough progress is made, he will call for a international conference in April or May of this year to help cement a deal.

Greek and Turkish Cypriot officials have been discussing reunification for three years but differences over elections, property and citizenship remain.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded after a coup by Greek Cypriot supporters of a union with Greece.

Turkish Cypriots declared independence in the 1980s, but only Turkey recognizes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The Greek-held portion of Cyprus joined the European Union in 2004.

Earlier this month, the United States urged the leaders of divided Cyprus to take advantage of this week's talks in New York.

The conflict over reunification has hampered Turkey's bid to join the European Union.