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Cypriot leaders agree to reunification summit in Geneva

After mediation efforts were halted last month, could this be the final round of negotiations on a peace agreement to unify the island?

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U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres meets and grasps hands with Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci (R) at the United Nations Headquarters on Sunday. Photo: AAP via AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

07 June 2017

It was announced this week that Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have agreed to a final round of negotiations set to take place this month in Geneva, renewing hopes of reunification between the two sides.

The news was revealed by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who invited the two leaders to a working dinner at UN headquarters.

He said that both Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci had agreed upon the issue of security as a matter "of vital ­importance" and "an essential element in reaching an overall agreement and in building trust between the two communities".

The leaders have been in negotiations for two years now over a reunification deal, which came to a standstill on May 26 with mediation called off due to a dispute over how the final summit would proceed.

However just three days later, special adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide remained optimistic, claiming "we are indeed very, very close - actually more close than most people seem to understand" to an agreement to reunite Cyprus.

The island has been split since 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by Cypriots seeking to unite with Greece, and after declaring themselves as an independent state in 1983, Turkey still has some 35,000 troops present.

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The Hellenic and Turkish Cypriot leaders wish to make a resounding peace. And they would have it if the UN were to seek from everyone that Cyprus accepted a status akin to the Vatican - independent, neutral and its own government without interference from any other government or military forces. But the President of Turkey has instead even suggested re invading Cyprus just as he and others in his dictatorial regime have openly contemplated attacking islands under Hellenic jurisdiction. He will not allow a peace that in any way reduces his own personal mad influence. And yet the respective leaders have sought peace for a long time only, at one stage, to be forced to put up with that useless clod from Australia, Alexander Downer, who, in five years, succeeded in two things only - uniting Hellenic and Turkish leaders against him and employing his daughter.

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