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Decades of division: UN initiates fresh peace talks in Cyprus

1 min

The UN Special Envoy to Cyprus, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has called for a revival of peace talks on the Mediterranean island, which remains split between its Greek and Turkish communities after decades of conflict. 

Ledra Street (Nicosia), the only one pedestrian crossing to the Turkish side © Mena Today 

The UN Special Envoy to Cyprus, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has called for a revival of peace talks on the Mediterranean island, which remains split between its Greek and Turkish communities after decades of conflict. 

Her call comes during a pivotal year marking the 50th anniversary of the events that led to the island's division.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 following a Turkish invasion triggered by a coup d'état that aimed to annex the island to Greece. This historical backdrop sets the stage for ongoing tensions and complex geopolitical dynamics.

The internationally recognized government of Cyprus advocates for reunification based on a federal model, a stance backed by its membership in the European Union. Conversely, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), recognized only by Turkey, insists on the establishment of two separate states.

During her second visit to the island, Holguin Cuellar met with Nikos Christodoulides, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, before crossing the UN-monitored ceasefire line for talks with Ersin Tatar, leader of the self-declared state in Northern Cyprus. Her discussions are aimed at breathing new life into stalled negotiations, which have not seen significant progress since the last failed round in 2017.

Holguin Cuellar expressed optimism after her meetings, noting a general eagerness to progress. "I have the impression that everyone wants to move forward and that something is happening on the island," she stated to reporters. 

Meanwhile, the Cypriot government's spokesperson, Konstantinos Letymbiotis, emphasized the importance of diplomacy and expressed hope that negotiations could resume in the next six months.

This latest UN initiative is seen by many observers as potentially the last chance to achieve a workable solution for Cyprus. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres highlighted in his recent report the diminishing prospects for a universally acceptable resolution, adding a sense of urgency to Holguin Cuellar's mission.

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