UN struggles to break impasse in Cyprus talks

UN struggles to break impasse in Cyprus talks

NICOSIA – Reuters
UN struggles to break impasse in Cyprus talks

Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu (R) talks with UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser for Cyprus Alexander Downer during their meeting at the Presidential Palace Nov 6. AA photo

U.N. diplomats have been struggling to revive stalled peace talks on Cyprus, where an ethnic division dating back four decades is dogging Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.

United Nations envoys have been shuttling between the two sides of the split Mediterranean island trying to agree on the wording of a joint statement by Greek and Turkish Cypriots to pave the way for resuming talks after an 18-month hiatus. But so far there is little sign of a breakthrough.

“We are all putting a huge effort into this joint declaration, it is a very important component of the process and the Secretary-General wants the two leaders to agree on a joint declaration, so work is still proceeding,” said Alexander Downer, Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for the island, on Nov. 6.

In earlier visits to Cyprus, Downer had said he hoped talks could resume in October. On Nov. 6 he said efforts were “inching ahead, not leaping ahead.” But a Greek Cypriot official said the process was not deadlocked.

Negotiations have repeatedly stumbled on issues ranging from power sharing to redrawing territorial boundaries and the property claims of tens of thousands displaced in conflict.