UN chief backs Cyprus peace talks

Ban Ki-moon visits ethnically-divided island to boost ongoing negotiations.

    Ban Ki-moon said he is confident the island's two leaders can make a breakthrough [AFP]

    'Solution is possible'

    Ban said he is confident the island's two leaders can make a breakthrough in the ongoing peace talks, which in 16 months have only made marginal progress.

    "Reaching a mutually acceptable conclusion will require courage, flexibility and vision as well as a spirit of compromise," Ban said as he arrived in Cyprus on Sunday.

    "I am under no illusion that the Cyprus problem is easy to solve or about the difficulties that you face. At the same time, I am confident that a solution is possible and within reach," he said.

    Cyprus was divided in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a short-lived Greek-inspired coup. Decades-old attempts to resolve the conflict have failed.

    Kofi Annan, Ban's predecessor, travelled to Cyprus eight years ago and urged the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities at the time to seize a "historic opportunity."

    But the Greek Cypriots later rejected Annan's reunification blueprint in a referendum, ensuring Cyprus joined the European Union still divided in 2004 despite a Turkish Cypriot referendum approving Annan's plan.

    Failure to reach a Cyprus settlement is also proving an obstacle to Turkey's own EU ambitions.

    The latest UN-led effort has also struggled to produce tangible results since it was launched amid much optimism in September 2008.

    The two sides remain far apart on the core issues of property, security and territorial adjustments.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The shocking story of Israel's disappeared babies

    The shocking story of Israel's disappeared babies

    New information has come to light about thousands of mostly Yemeni children believed to have been abducted in the 1950s.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.