There is still hope of reaching a comprehensive solution to the dispute regarding Cyprus, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the Security Council on Monday.
Guterres said he believes that “prospects for a comprehensive settlement between the communities on the island remain alive”.
He emphasized that the lack of resolution of the Cyprus issue was not sustainable.
But before full-fledged negotiations could be resumed, the sides had to agree on a “starting point” in the form of terms of reference, he said.
Guterres also said that all efforts should be made to avoid unnecessary escalation and to pursue dialogue on the issue of the island’s natural resources.
“I reiterate once again that the natural resources found in and around Cyprus should benefit both communities and should provide a strong incentive for all concerned parties to work in earnest towards a mutually acceptable and durable solution,” he said.
The status of the island of Cyprus remains unresolved in spite of a series of UN-mediated discussions between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Greek Cypriot administration.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the latest initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK collapsing in 2017.
Turkey blames Greek Cypriot intransigence for the talks' failure, also faulting the European Union for admitting Cyprus as a divided island into the union in 2004 after Greek Cypriot voters rejected a peace deal.
The report is to be presented to the UN Security Council on Oct. 30.