World Bulletin / News Desk
Marathon talks aimed at ending Cyprus's drawn-out conflict collapsed early Friday without a deal, despite an 11th-hour bid by the UN chief to rescue them.
The failure to reach a deal brings an end to more than two years of UN-backed efforts to resolve the conflict.
"I am deeply sorry to inform you that despite the very strong commitment and engagement of all the delegations and the different parties... the Conference on Cyprus was closed without an agreement being reached," UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres told reporters.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and later occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired putsch seeking union with Greece.
Guterres was upbeat when he first joined the Crans-Montana talks late last week, describing the negotiations as "highly constructive", and urging the rival Cypriot sides to seize "a historic opportunity to reach a comprehensive settlement to the conflict that has divided Cyprus for too many decades".
But the tone quickly soured and the UN chief flew back to Switzerland early Thursday in a bid to try to end the stalemate that had set in.
He held a full day of back-to-back meetings with President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek-Cypriot leader, and his Turkish-Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Akinci, as well as the foreign and European affairs ministers from so-called guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain.
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