UN Security Council wants to keep momentum of Cyprus talks

NNA – The UN Security Council on Monday pressed Greek and Turkish Cypriots to keep the “momentum” in talks for possible reunification of the island.

“We urge all the parties to maintain the momentum and seize the opportunity they now have to secure a historic agreement,” Swiss envoy Olof Skogg, who holds the rotating presidency this month, said after a closed-door session.

Cyprus, home to about a million inhabitants, has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Special UN envoy Espen Barth Eide gave updates on the talks to ambassadors from the council’s 15 member countries.

He acknowledged there were still “key difficult issues to solve,” especially concerning security guarantees.

“One community traditionally sees the presence of Turkish troops as part of a solution, while the other sees it as part of the problem,” he explained.

Eide suggested negotiators were seeking a more comprehensive solution, without providing further details.

“Security in Cyprus needs to be understood on several layers,” he explained, pointing to constitutional issues, internal and external security, as well as mechanisms to ensure an eventual agreement would be respected.

“We are looking for potential new answers,” Eide said.

He expressed hope of holding a new multilateral conference on the Mediterranean island’s future in the coming weeks. —AFP