UN chief urges Cyprus leaders to reach deal

All parties to talks on Cyprus should seize an “historic opportunity” to reach an agreement, UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday.

The message, delivered in Switzerland by Jeffrey Feltman, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, came as negotiations resumed over the divided island.

Mr Feltman told journalists that several issues needed to be decided but now was the time for leaders to decide on a shared vision for the country’s future.

Daniel Johnson has more.

After an opening morning of talks in Crans-Montana, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs

Jeffrey Feltman said that Antonio Guterres wanted all those involved to take this “historic opportunityto solve a problem that has been there for decades”.

He told journalists that the initial meeting had given reason for hope:

“What we heard this morning gave us the hope and the conviction that the leaders and the three guarantors have come to this conference with the determination to overcome the challenges and resolve the issues.”

Taking part in the UN-led conference are Greek-Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Akinci, along with guarantors Greece, Turkey and the UK.

The European Union is also present.

Reaching a deal with so many actors will not be easy, but Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, said he was prepared for the “long-haul”.

The UN negotiator also spoke of a “constructive” and “good start” to the first day of meetings and said that the critical issues of security and guarantees had been tackled.

These would be followed by discussions on other matters that were “make or break” for all parties to the talks, he added.

These include power-sharing, territory and property � areas that those participating in the talks had decided to leave until now to tie up.

Source: United Nations Radio