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.