UN official calls for peace talks to restart on Cyprus

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The United Nations envoy to Cyprus on Wednesday urged leaders of the divided Mediterranean island to revive peace talks to resolve decades of conflict.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish forces occupied the island’s northern third in response to a military coup sponsored by the junta then in power in Athens. Only Ankara recognises the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), which was proclaimed by Turkish Cypriot leaders in 1983.

Efforts to reunify the island have been at a standstill since the last round of United Nations-backed talks collapsed in 2017.

Greek Cypriots say the stumbling block is the Turkish side’s insistence on Cyprus becoming two separate states, while Nicosia backs reunification based on a federal model.

UN envoy Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar met on Wednesday with Republic of Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides before crossing the UN-patrolled ceasefire line for talks with Ersin Tatar, the leader of the breakaway self-declared state in northern Cyprus.

The envoy said her impression after meeting with Christodoulides was “that everyone wants to move forward and have something happen on the island.”

According to Cyprus Mail, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar rejected a UN proposal suggesting a trilateral meeting with Ms Holguin and President Christodoulides.

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