UN chief returns to Switzerland for 2nd time to advance peace talks on Cyprus

Source: Xinhua| 2017-07-06 20:32:49|Editor: Yang Yi


UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres takes part in a new round of the Conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, July 6, 2017. (Xinhua/Xu Jinquan)

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland, July 6 (Xinhua) -- United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres arrived here on Thursday to participate in the ongoing Conference on Cyprus.

This is the second time in a week that Guterres has come to the Swiss alpine town in an effort to push forward the ongoing peace talks on the reunification of Cyprus.

The UN chief chaired a session of the conference on Thursday morning right after his arrival. He is also expected to hold several bilateral talks with both leaders of the conflicting Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides.

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini was also present at Thursday morning's conference.

The new round of the Conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the UN started on June 28 here, which the UN official described as having "a constructive and good start."

UN Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said after the opening of the conference that it provided the "best chance" for a solution to the Cyprus problem.

Participants of the conference include Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, as well as foreign ministers and senior representatives from Turkey, Greece, Britain and the EU.

The talks at Crans-Montana take place in two separate "tables", one dealing with the key issue of security and guarantees, which involve the guarantor countries, and the other tackling bi-communal issues like governance and power-sharing.

UN officials have said that among the six major chapters of negotiation, the security and guarantees is "where the positions are diametrically opposed," or "at least traditionally have been diametrically opposed."

The UN said that the four chapters, namely governance and power sharing, property, economy and the EU matters, had been largely been settled and the two sides had made unprecedented progress on the territory chapter.

The conference runs until July 7 but could end earlier or be extended if agreed on by all sides.

Cyprus was divided when Turkey mounted a military operation in 1974 in response to a Greek coup at the time, resulting in the occupation of 37 percent of the island's territory.

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