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INTERNATIONAL >New Cyprus maps on table ahead of guarantors’ meet

GENEVA

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The Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides were set to present respective maps for a prospective federal Cyprus at peace talks in Geneva on Jan. 11 ahead of a conference that will also include the three guarantor powers as part of the bid to end the 40-year-old conflict. 

The two leaders of the eastern Mediterranean island, Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı and his Greek Cypriot counterpart, Nicos Anastasiades, ended their three-day U.N.-brokered negotiations marathon in Geneva by submitting maps to the United Nations detailing their proposals on territorial boundaries between constituent states in a two-zone federation. 

The map submission came one day before a five-party conference is due to start in Geneva on Jan. 12 with the participation of Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom, which are the three guarantor powers of the island, a status they earned under the terms of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee. 

The opening ceremony of the conference will be chaired by the U.N.’s new secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, while the European Union will attend the conference as a “special observer,” state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Jan. 11. 

The main theme of the five-party conference is scheduled to be security and guarantees, it added. 

London said British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, not Prime Minister Theresa May, would attend the five-party conference, according to AFP, while the level of representation from Turkey and Greece was not yet known as the Daily News went to press.

Greek Cypriot government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told reporters during a break in the summit on Jan. 11 that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras would not be attending the conference, The Associated Press reported.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops intervened in the north of the island in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

On the third day of the peace talks in Geneva, the governance and power-sharing chapter along with remaining issues from the previous day were discussed at the morning session, Anadolu Agency reported, while the territory chapter was discussed in the afternoon. 

The two leaders were then expected to present their maps on territorial boundaries late on Jan. 11. 

Akıncı and Anastasiades were set to be accompanied only by two map experts and U.N. special envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide during the submission of the maps, Anadolu Agency reported, adding that the maps would be then kept in a U.N. safe and not be made public. 

Past peace negotiations have seen Turkish Cypriots propose maintaining a geographical area of 29.2 percent, with Greek Cypriots countering it with 28.2 percent.

As the two leaders were sweating to find a resolution in Geneva, hundreds of Turkish and Greek Cypriots held a peace rally in the divided capital of Nicosia on Jan. 10 to support their leaders.

“Nico-Mustafa, come back with a solution,” read a poster at the rally between checkpoints in Europe’s last divided capital.

The Beatles’ hit “Come Together” played on a loudspeaker before the rally called for by dozens of associations, unions and political parties from both sides of the island.  

“We want to put pressure on our leaders and show the international community that we request peace,” said Greek Cypriot Andy Theocharous, 20, standing among friends from both sides of the island.

Hera Çeliker, 21, a Turkish Cypriot sociology student, said: “I always hear stories from my grandparents about the old days and I always wondered how it feels to live together.”

January/11/2017

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