Commitment but still no peace deal in Cyprus

Attempts to re-energise long running peace talks between leaders of ethnically-divided Cyprus do not seem to have produced the firm results Ban Ki-moon was after, but at least there appears to be goodwill on both sides.

Flanked by Greek Cypriot President Demetrius Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat, the UN Secretary-General called for more effort to agree a deal.

“I am encouraged that the two leaders personally assured me of their shared commitment for a comprehensive solution as early as possible,” said Ban.

But a successful end still seems some way off.

Talat admitted “time was not on the side of a solution.” He added “we have made progress on some issues” but that some differences remained.

A UN buffer zone currently divides the island which was split in a 1974 Turkish invasion, following a brief Greek-inspired coup.

The UN is facilitating the talks to end the mistrust between the two communities but diplomats are concerned that if Talat, who is viewed as a moderate Turk, loses an April leadership election in northern Cyprus, the chances of a deal could disappear into thin air.

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