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UN chief arrives in Switzerland to push forward peace talks on Cyprus

By Tajuddin
Jun 30th, 2017

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L), Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (R) and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pose for a photo during the new round of the Conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, June 30 2017. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived in the Swiss Alpine town of Crans-Montana in an effort to push forward the going peace talks on the reunification of Cyprus. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

Crans-Montana, Switzerland (Xinhua + DIPLOMAT.SO)- United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived Crans-Montana Friday in a bid to push forward the ongoing peace talks on the reunification of Cyprus.

The UN chief is supposed to meet in the Swiss Alpine town with participants of the conference from all sides and then chair a session for discussions on related issues.

The new round of the Conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations started here Wednesday morning, and the UN official described this as “a constructive and good start.”

UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide on Wednesday said that the conference provided the “best chance” for a solution to the Cyprus problem, and after the first session he felt even better about this chance.

Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs and Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the Conference on Cyprus, told reporters that the ongoing Conference is a “historic opportunity” to solve a decades-old problem.

Participants of the conference include Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, as well as foreign ministers and senior representatives from Turkey, Greece, Britain and the European Union (EU).

The talks at Crans-Montana took place in two separate “tables,” one dealing with the key issue of security and guarantees, which involves the guarantor countries, and the other tackling bi-communal issues like governance and power-sharing.

UN officials have said that among the six major chapters of the negotiation, security and guarantees is “where the positions are diametrically opposed,” or “at least traditionally have been diametrically opposed.”

The UN said that the four chapters, namely governance and power sharing, property, economy and EU matters, have been largely completed and the two sides have made unprecedented progress on the territory chapter.

According to the UN arrangement, the planned end date of the conference is July 7. But if necessary, the conference could end earlier or continue after July 7 if agreed by all sides.

Cyprus was divided when Turkey launched a military operation in 1974 in response to a Greek-inspired coup, resulting in the occupation of 37 percent of the island’s territory.

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