U.N. Cyprus envoy says a peace deal is difficult, but not impossible

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2017 9:00 AM

GENEVA (Reuters) - A peace deal in Cyprus is difficult but not impossible, a senior United Nations envoy said on Monday as leaders of the ethnically-split island met for crucial reunification talks in Geneva.

Espen Barth Eide, a former Norwegian foreign minister, also said the United Nations would only facilitate, and not arbitrate in talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

The island was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek inspired coup.

"The leaders are showing a lot of courage, a lot of will," Eide told a news briefing. "It's going to be difficult but not impossible."

Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are discussing power-sharing, territorial adjustments and security issues as part of reuniting Cyprus under a federal umbrella.

"We are now in the final moment. We are now in the moment of truth," Eide said.

(Reporting By Tom Miles and Michele Kambas)