Turkish, Greek Cyprus to step up talks in January: UN
Turks and Greeks in Cyprus will step up talks in January to try to clinch a peace deal next year, United Nations said.
Turks and Greeks in Mediterranean island Cyprus will step up reunification talks in January to try to clinch a peace deal next year and end a conflict harming Turkey's ambition to join the European Union.
Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat will hold two three-day sessions of talks next month at a U.N. compound in Nicosia, the island's divided capital, the United Nations said.
Until now, the leaders have been meeting once a week.
"The leaders reconfirmed their earlier decision to intensify their efforts," said Yasser Sabra, a U.N. diplomat coordinating talks between the the two leaders who met on Monday.
Reading from a joint statement issued by the two leaders, Sabra said, "On the occasion of their last meeting of the year, the two leaders... express their strong hope that 2010 will be the year of solution of the Cyprus problem."
Turkey's negotiations with the EU have been partially frozen because of the conflict, and its refusal to open its ports to Greek Cypriots. Greek Cypriots represent Cyprus in the bloc.
Ankara has no diplomatic relations with the Greek Cypriot government, but recognises a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in northern Cyprus.
The two Cypriot sides re-launched peace talks in September 2008 and focus on how to make a power-sharing federation work.
Reuters Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2009, 09:18