World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus president Dervis Eroglu and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades agreed on Wednesday to try to speed up the pace of slow-moving peace talks to resolve outstanding issues in the decades-old dispute, a U.N. official said.
The Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders launched a fresh round of peace talks in February to end more than 40 years of division but have multiple disagreements to resolve, from future governance to territory handovers.
Cyprus was split in 1974 after constitutional peace guarantor Turkey was prompted to intervene after a coup led by the Greek junta sought to annex the island to Greece, eleven years after Greek Cypriots expelled Turkish Cypriots from the government and forced them to flee to enclaves.
Turkish Cypriots in North Cyprus went on to declare the independence of the TRNC in 1983 after almost of decade of failed peace talks.
The latest talks, which had until now focussed on submitting proposals, would now move into "structured negotiations", United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide said.
"They (the leaders) have instructed their negotiators to enter into active negotiations with a view to bridging the gap through real negotiation on unresolved core issues," said Eide, a former Norwegian foreign minister appointed U.N. special adviser for Cyprus last month.
The process would involve placing all unresolved differences on the table to be addressed in a "negotiating format", Eide told reporters after meeting the leaders at a U.N. compound straddling a buffer zone in Lefkosa (Nicosia), the island's divided capital.
The United Nations would be ready to assist in coming up with ideas to bridge any gaps. There were, Eide said, "clear differences of opinion" on some issues.
An attempt to reunite the island failed in 2004 when the vast majority of Greek Cypriots rejected a plan proposed by the then-UN secretary general Kofi Annan in a referendum prior to their entry into the European Union.Last Mod: 17 Eylül 2014, 16:44