Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

UN Chief, US Vice President Urge Cyprus Peace Deal | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A sign marking the United Nations buffer zone is seen in the village of Pyla in the Larnaca District of Cyprus March 11, 2014. It is one of only four villages located within the United Nations Buffer Zone and is a mixed community with both Greek and Turkish Cypriots living side by side. This year marks 40 years since the Cyprus National Guard staged a coup in Cyprus and the subsequent Turkish military intervention, which escalated a civil war between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island. After the ceasefire a heavily restricted UN controlled Buffer Zone between the north and south of the island was put into operation. It stretches 180 Km across the whole island measuring 7.4 km at its widest and 3.3 meters at its narrowest point. It is restricted to the general public and no Greek or Turkish Cypriots are allowed inside. REUTERS/Neil Hall (BRITAIN)

Greek Cypriots recently indicated they would go ahead with plans for gas exploration, despite opposition from Turkey .

One diplomatic source said Turkey might be willing to rethink its role on guarantor rights. Turkey, Greece and Britain are guarantor powers of Cyprus in an independence treaty which granted the former colony independence in 1960.

That treaty gives them intervention rights to restore constitutional order.

Turkey has about 30,000 troops in northern Cyprus, a holdover from the 1974 invasion.

Greek Cypriots had previously objected to Turkish Cypriot demands for a rotating presidency, but another source said they had indicated readiness to discuss such an arrangement under conditions.

Any agreement would almost certainly have to go to separate referendums in the Greek and Turkish parts of the island, which each have their deeply-rooted sensitivities born of past communal conflicts. Negotiators must agree what powers would be held by two probably largely autonomous zones and which would be ceded to any central administration.

It was the second time in a week negotiators had drafted Guterres in to lend his weight to the talks.

“The problem has always been who goes first with concessions that will allow the others to follow,” a diplomat at the talks said.

“It is now obvious that only the Secretary-General has the authority and stature to press the various parties and perhaps find a way to break this deadlock.”