Cyprus says could be close to peace talks breakthrough

By REUTERS
February 5, 2014 15:59
1 minute read.

 
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NICOSIA - Cyprus said on Wednesday it was close to reviving stalled peace talks between the island's Greek and Turkish communities who have been locked in a festering, decades-old conflict that is harming Turkey's hopes of joining the EU.

The United Nations has been toiling for months on the wording of a 'joint statement' to restart negotiations between the island's two dominant groups that broke off in mid-2012.

"Important consultations are underway related to drafting a final and substantive joint statement," said Christos Stylianides, spokesman for Cyprus's internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government.

He said Cypriot President Nicos Anastassiades would be briefing political parties on Thursday and have consultations with the Greek government on Friday.

The consultations were in a "delicate phase", Stylianides said, but he declined to be more specific. "On Cyprus, things can be so close yet so far. A word can make all the difference."

Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived estranged for decades. A power-sharing government crumbled soon after independence from Britain in 1960 and a Turkish military invasion in 1974 split the island in two.

Greek Cypriots represent Cyprus in the EU, giving them a veto right over Turkey's aspirations of joining the bloc.

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