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.