World Bulletin / News Desk
Rival Cypriot leaders hold UN-sponsored peace talks in Geneva from Monday billed as a historic opportunity to end decades of division on the island but the outcome is far from certain.
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades have held more than 18 months of negotiations in the run-up to the crunch talks but both men acknowledge that key issues remain to be thrashed out.
"It is a real possibility that 2017 will be the year when the Cypriots, themselves, freely decide to turn the page of history," UN envoy Espen Barth Eide said in a New Year's message.
But some analysts believe that Geneva is a disaster waiting to happen because of the deep divisions between the two sides on core issues such as property, territorial adjustments and security.
"I will be surprised if there is a comprehensive agreement given the difficulties," Andreas Theophanous, head of the Cyprus Centre for European and International Affairs said.
Leaving for the talks on Sunday, the Turkish Cypriot leader told reporters that they marked a "crossroads" and it was vital to "achieve positive results and not just meet up".
"We are not at a point where Geneva will mark the final conclusion. We need to be cautious," Akinci said.
"We are not pessimistic but we shouldn't assume everything is done and dusted. We are expecting a tough week."
afpGüncelleme Tarihi: 08 Ocak 2017, 15:11