Anyone who believes that Europe today is "whole, free and at peace" should come to Cyprus. It is a divided island where problems of occupation and refugees are still real.

We are very close but  we can be at the same time very far apart....  A solution for the Cyprus problem is like a tango.

Ioannis Kasoulides, FM of the Republic of Cyprus

Turkish Cypriots still backed by troops from the Turkish mainland are occupying the North, while Greek Cypriots live on the other side.

Freedom of movement is restricted; to cross the dividing line is a process; and UN peacekeepers are still in Cyprus after 50 years - a subtle reminder that absence of conflict is hardly the same as real peace.

Although the Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been pulling the island apart for many years, it was in the summer of 1974 that everything changed.

When the Greek Cypriots, who were in majority, staged a coup to actually force a union with Greece, Turkey responded with a military invasion, taking control of almost half the territory.

Since then, nothing appears to have changed.

Ten years ago, there was a short glimmer of hope when leaders on both sides agreed to a UN mediated federal union. In a referendum a majority of the Turks voted yes. But the Greeks said no.

Nobody is benefiting from the division of the island.... I think it's a matter of time... We will be able to solve the Cyprus issue.

Ozdil Nami, FM of Northern Cyprus

But in the past year, diplomatic efforts to end the division have suddenly picked up pace and there are whispers of of a possible breakthrough.

The big powers, the United States, EU and Russia have taken an interest. Perhaps it was the economic crisis here that was making a difference. Or perhaps, a desire by Turkey and the EU to resolve their differences and open up a path for Turkish membership. Or perhaps, because huge oil and gas reserves have been discovered off the coast, meaning lots of money for the people here, if only they can work together.

For whatever reason talks have intensified, but where exactly do things stand now?

Al Jazeera talks to two of the most important negotiators on each side: on behalf of the Turkish Cypriots, the Foreign Minister of Northern Cyprus, Ozdil Nami; and on behalf of the Greek Cypriots the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Cyprus, Ioannis Kasoulides.

Talk to Al Jazeera  can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430; Sunday: 0830 and 1930; Monday: 1430.        

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