NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — U.N. Security Council member states must take part in a future summit aiming to remove a key stumbling block to a deal reunifying ethnically divided Cyprus, the island's government spokesman said Monday.
Nicos Christodoulides told The Associated Press that Security Council members have expressed their readiness to "actively and effectively take part" in such a summit, and that he expects their participation.
He said that the U.N. Security Council, which has been involved in Cyprus talks for more than five decades, should ensure the implementation of a peace accord — something that concerns both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
A summit scheduled in Geneva next month will be a follow-up to a January gathering of Cyprus' rival leaders as well as the foreign ministers of the island's 'guarantors' — Greece, Turkey and former colonial ruler Britain.
Next month's summit will again take up the key issue of how post-reunification security will be handled, something that has long stumped peace talks. The earlier summit ended without a breakthrough after differences between the sides proved too wide to bridge.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades suggested Sunday that the March summit will aim to sustain the momentum of talks rather than to achieve an overall peace accord.
Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup aimed at union with Greece. A Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence is recognized only by Turkey which keeps more than 35,000 troops in the island's breakaway north.
Greek Cypriots reject a demand by the minority Turkish Cypriots to keep Turkish military intervention rights and troops in place after reunification, saying the European Union — of which Cyprus is a member — needs no third country security guarantees.
Turkish Cypriots insist Turkey is the only power they can trust to protect them from any troubles if a peace deal goes awry.