Antonio Guterres UN chief returns to Cyprus talks

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will fly to Switzerland later Wednesday to push leaders closer to a historic deal on reunifying Cyprus.

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UN chief Antonio Guterres, seen here between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci (R), is heading to Switzerland to press them to reach a historic agreement on reunifying Cyprus. play

UN chief Antonio Guterres, seen here between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (L) and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akinci (R), is heading to Switzerland to press them to reach a historic agreement on reunifying Cyprus.

(AFP/File)
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will fly to Switzerland later Wednesday to push leaders closer to a historic deal on reunifying Cyprus.

Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders, whose latest round of talks opened in the Swiss Alpine resort of Crans-Montana a week ago, have asked Guterres to return to the table, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Dujarric declined to say whether a deal was within reach, saying: "It would be dangerous of me to make any sort of predictions at this point."

"The secretary-general just felt that it was a good time for him to return to the talks and he will be there tomorrow," he added.

The UN-sponsored talks opened on June 28 amid some optimism over the prospects for reaching a final settlement to end the decades-old division of the Mediterranean island.

Negotiations have run into hurdles over the thorny issue of security guarantees and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the north of the island.

Guterres on Friday said negotiations had been "highly constructive" and that the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides had reached a "clear understanding" of the key elements of a final settlement.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and later occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired putsch seeking union with Greece.

Turkey maintains more than 35,000 troops there.

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