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5+1 talks on the Cyprus issue to be conducted in April

The two Cypriot governments and three guarantors of the island are planned to convene in an informal meeting hosted with the UN in Geneva, in April.

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Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, indicated in a statement that upon consultations by UN officials with countries concerned, the UN Secretary-General intends to hold informal talks with the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot governments as well as the three guarantors of the island; Turkey, Greece, and the UK, in a ‘5+1’ meeting to determine whether a middle-ground can be achieved between the parties in order to create a lasting solution to the divide on the island.

Since 1974, the island of Cyprus has been divided into two administrative bodies: one being governed by an ethnic Turkish Cypriot government, while the other being governed by the Greek Cypriots. The island entered into conflict when a pro-Enosis government, intending to unify Cyprus with mainland Greece, was installed after a military coup d’état by the EOKA B paramilitary organization, which led to Turkey’s military involvement through an operation to protect the interests of the Turkish Cypriots, under its rights as a guarantor of the island.

The Cyprus issue has since undergone an on-and-off peace process. The most recent initiative was a UN-sponsored talk aimed at finding a solution failed in 2017 in Switzerland. As an attempt to restart talks between the parties, the UN Secretary-General appointed Jane Holl Lute as his new advisor to Cyprus. Negotiations have since been affected by the growing tensions with regards to energy and the continental shelf dispute in the East Mediterranean between Ankara and Athens. 

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