Cyprus Conference ends without a deal
The much-anticipated Cyprus Conference, which many saw as the best chance for a deal aiming to reunify the island, has ended in a stalemate. The UN-backed talks began formally in January and it’s ultimate goal was the creation of a two-state federation.
It seems that the main obstacle was the potential withdrawal of some 30,000 Turkish troops stationed on the island which was key demand from the Greek-Cypriot side. This was rejected out of hand by Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who said removing the troops was "out of the question" unless Greece agreed to remove 1,000 of their troops. Some diplomats have insinuated that the Turkish side of appearing to offer little to Greek-Cypriots. In contrast Greek-Cypriots had indicated a willingness to make concessions on Turkish-Cypriot demands for a rotating presidency, which was seen as another main issue.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres confirmed the talks had been called off saying: “Despite the very strong commitment and engagement of all the delegations and the different parties, the Conference on Cyprus was closed without an agreement being reached. The decision came after he flew to Switzerland, where the talks were taking place, to meet with Greek-Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his counterpart Mustafa Akinci. US Vice President Mike Pence also urged the two leaders to “seize this historic opportunity”.
Turkey invaded the northern part of the island in 1974 after then Cyprus President, Archbishop Makarios, was deposed in a coup backed by Greece’s then ruling military junta. The two sides of the island have since been separated by a UN buffer zone. In 1983 Turkey declared a breakway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which is not recognised under international law.