UN chief will host Cyprus meeting

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Protesters march during a demonstration against government corruption in the centre of Cyprus' capital Nicosia on February 20, 2021. AFP

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres will convene an informal meeting in April involving Greece, Turkey and Britain to explore a possible end to deadlocked Cyprus peace talks, his spokesman said on February 24.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey occupied its northern third in response to a coup orchestrated by the military junta then in power in Athens aimed at annexing the island to Greece.

There have been no official UN-sponsored negotiations on the island’s future since a conference in Switzerland – also involving Greece, Turkey and Britain – collapsed in 2017.

“The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” said the statement from Guterres’ spokesman.

The three countries act as guarantors of the island’s sovereignty under the treaty that gave Cyprus independence from British rule in 1960.

The Republic of Cyprus, the only internationally recognised state, is a member of the EU and exercises its authority over the southern part of the Mediterranean island.