Experts from both sides will hold their first ceremonial meeting on Friday, in the presence of the chief aides to Greek Cypriot Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot Mehmet Ali Talat, the leaders who are slated to start reunification talks by June.
"It is expected that these talks will pave the way for fully fledged negotiations in three' months time. They are meant to prepare the issues so they can be dealt with by the leaders on their level," said U.N. spokesman Jose Diaz.
Hopes of reuniting Cyprus, divided between Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities since Turkey entered in 1974 in response to a Greek-inspired coup, have risen since Christofias was elected to the Cypriot presidency in February.
A stalemate on Cyprus, which has been represented in the European Union by its Greek Cypriot-led government since 2004, is harming the EU accession prospects of Turkey.
U.N.-led efforts to negotiate a settlement for the Mediterranean island have failed over three decades. Christofias has been more amenable to a deal than his predecessor and the Greek and Turkish Cypriots agreed last month to relaunch talks.
Thirteen teams from the island's Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides will cover preparatory groundwork ranging from governance to environmental protection work.
Working groups will look at complex Cypriot reunification issues such as power-sharing and linking the island's two economies, and technical committees at matters like environmental protection, cooperation on crime prevention and cultural issues.
Last Mod: 16 Nisan 2008, 18:30