Cyprus peace talks get under way on January 12, 2017 as Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, third from left, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, centre, and Greek Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades gather at the United Nations Offices in Geneva, Switzerland. Philippe Desmazes/Pool Photo via AP
Cyprus peace talks get under way on January 12, 2017 as Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, third from left, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, centre, and Greek Cypriot president Nicos AnastasShow more

Cyprus deal ‘close’ but don’t expect miracles, UN chief says



GENEVA // Cypriot leaders are close to reaching a deal on unifying the island but key issues remain unsolved, including implementing and guaranteeing a final pact, the new UN chief said on Thursday.

“We are coming very close to what is the settlement,” Antonio Guterres said in Geneva after opening a first-of-its kind conference on ending four decades of stalemate in the eastern Mediterranean island.

The UN-backed peace process is aimed at creating a unified state, with Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot zones.

Greek Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have during bilateral talks tackled tough domestic issues like land swaps and the make up of a prospective future government.

While Mr Guterres said major progress had been made on resolving those questions, there were obstacles ahead on how to implement a deal and preserve it.

“You cannot expect miracles of immediate solutions, we are not looking for a quick fix,” he said on his first foreign trip since taking over the UN’s top job on January 1.

“We are looking for a solid sustainable solution for the Republic of Cyprus,” he added.

Thursday’s conference included top diplomats from Cyprus’s so-called guarantor powers: Greece, Turkey, and former colonial ruler Britain.

The arrival of foreign ministers Boris Johnson of Britain, Nikos Kotzias of Greece and Mevlut Cavusoglu of Turkey means years of efforts to reunify Cyprus have tackled security for the first time. Flanked by Mr Anastasiades and Mr Akinci, the UN chief said instruments were needed to implement an end to a conflict which has defied mediation for decades.

“Our goal here is to get the necessary results, and to do that we want to work seriously for the amount of time that is necessary,” he said. “We are facing so many situations of disaster, we badly need a symbol of hope. I strongly believe Cyprus can be the symbol hope of the beginning of 2017.”

The issue is pivotal to any deal to end the 43-year split because it strikes at the heart of fears among both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

As the talks got under way, Greek Cypriot leader Mr Anastasiades floated the possibility of the creation of an international police force, without specifying who or how it might be set up or lead, a diplomat who attended the session said on condition of anonymity.

The ministers were hoping to make progress that could pave the way for their prime ministers to join, a possible signal that a wide-ranging accord also involving issues like governance, property and territory could be on tap. Britain is a former colonial overseer in Cyprus, and today operates two military bases on the island.

“The prime minister [Alexis Tsipras] will travel to Geneva if there are signs that a resolution is achievable,” Greek government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said in Athens. A spokesman for Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim said he, too, was waiting for signs of progress from the foreign ministers.

Outside the UN compound, about 250 protesters including pro-Kurdish activists took the opportunity to demonstrate against Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with some waving Kurdish flags, ripping up pictures of the Turkish leader, or chanting “Erdogan, Terrorist!”

Turkey stationed some 35,000 troops in the breakaway north in 1974 when it invaded following a coup by Greek Cypriots hoping to unify Cyprus with Greece. The minority Turkish Cypriots see Turkey’s military might as their sole insurance against any Greek Cypriot hostility if a peace deal unravels, and insist on keeping the troops as part of a final accord.

Greek Cypriots consider a Turkish troop presence as a threat and an instrument of Ankara’s influence on the island. Cypriot leaders from both sides have been leading a string of delicate, closed-door meetings in Geneva since Monday to iron out a host of outstanding issues. UN envoy for Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said Wednesday that progress has been made on a number of fronts, but that work remained.

The Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities exchanged maps on Wednesday outlining the zones that each community would control in a hoped-for federation, before the maps were placed in UN vault for safekeeping – a sign of the delicate nature of the proposals to both sides.

Neither Mr Anasastaides nor Mr Akinci have spoken publicly to reporters about the talks since Monday.

* Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
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Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Dates for the diary

To mark Bodytree’s 10th anniversary, the coming season will be filled with celebratory activities:

  • September 21 Anyone interested in becoming a certified yoga instructor can sign up for a 250-hour course in Yoga Teacher Training with Jacquelene Sadek. It begins on September 21 and will take place over the course of six weekends.
  • October 18 to 21 International yoga instructor, Yogi Nora, will be visiting Bodytree and offering classes.
  • October 26 to November 4 International pilates instructor Courtney Miller will be on hand at the studio, offering classes.
  • November 9 Bodytree is hosting a party to celebrate turning 10, and everyone is invited. Expect a day full of free classes on the grounds of the studio.
  • December 11 Yogeswari, an advanced certified Jivamukti teacher, will be visiting the studio.
  • February 2, 2018 Bodytree will host its 4th annual yoga market.

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List
James Mustich, Workman

The biog

Name: Mariam Ketait

Emirate: Dubai

Hobbies: I enjoy travelling, experiencing new things, painting, reading, flying, and the French language

Favourite quote: "Be the change you wish to see" - unknown

Favourite activity: Connecting with different cultures

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

US PGA Championship in numbers

1 Joost Luiten produced a memorable hole in one at the par-three fourth in the first round.

2 To date, the only two players to win the PGA Championship after winning the week before are Rory McIlroy (2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational) and Tiger Woods (2007, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational). Hideki Matsuyama or Chris Stroud could have made it three.

3 Number of seasons without a major for McIlroy, who finished in a tie for 22nd.

4 Louis Oosthuizen has now finished second in all four of the game's major championships.

5 In the fifth hole of the final round, McIlroy holed his longest putt of the week - from 16ft 8in - for birdie.

6 For the sixth successive year, play was disrupted by bad weather with a delay of one hour and 43 minutes on Friday.

7 Seven under par (64) was the best round of the week, shot by Matsuyama and Francesco Molinari on Day 2.

8 Number of shots taken by Jason Day on the 18th hole in round three after a risky recovery shot backfired.

9 Jon Rahm's age in months the last time Phil Mickelson missed the cut in the US PGA, in 1995.

10 Jimmy Walker's opening round as defending champion was a 10-over-par 81.

11 The par-four 11th coincidentally ranked as the 11th hardest hole overall with a scoring average of 4.192.

12 Paul Casey was a combined 12 under par for his first round in this year's majors.

13 The average world ranking of the last 13 PGA winners before this week was 25. Kevin Kisner began the week ranked 25th.

14 The world ranking of Justin Thomas before his victory.

15 Of the top 15 players after 54 holes, only Oosthuizen had previously won a major.

16 The par-four 16th marks the start of Quail Hollow's so-called "Green Mile" of finishing holes, some of the toughest in golf.

17 The first round scoring average of the last 17 major champions was 67.2. Kisner and Thorbjorn Olesen shot 67 on day one at Quail Hollow.

18 For the first time in 18 majors, the eventual winner was over par after round one (Thomas shot 73).

if you go

The flights

Air Astana flies direct from Dubai to Almaty from Dh2,440 per person return, and to Astana (via Almaty) from Dh2,930 return, both including taxes.

The hotels

Rooms at the Ritz-Carlton Almaty cost from Dh1,944 per night including taxes; and in Astana the new Ritz-Carlton Astana (www.marriott) costs from Dh1,325; alternatively, the new St Regis Astana costs from Dh1,458 per night including taxes.

When to visit

March-May and September-November

Visas

Citizens of many countries, including the UAE do not need a visa to enter Kazakhstan for up to 30 days. Contact the nearest Kazakhstan embassy or consulate.

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Coal Black Mornings

Brett Anderson

Little Brown Book Group 

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now

If you go

The flights

Fly direct to London from the UAE with Etihad, Emirates, British Airways or Virgin Atlantic from about Dh2,500 return including taxes. 

The hotel

Rooms at the convenient and art-conscious Andaz London Liverpool Street cost from £167 (Dh800) per night including taxes.

The tour

The Shoreditch Street Art Tour costs from £15 (Dh73) per person for approximately three hours. 

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Key figures in the life of the fort

Sheikh Dhiyab bin Isa (ruled 1761-1793) Built Qasr Al Hosn as a watchtower to guard over the only freshwater well on Abu Dhabi island.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Dhiyab (ruled 1793-1816) Expanded the tower into a small fort and transferred his ruling place of residence from Liwa Oasis to the fort on the island.

Sheikh Tahnoon bin Shakhbut (ruled 1818-1833) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further as Abu Dhabi grew from a small village of palm huts to a town of more than 5,000 inhabitants.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Shakhbut (ruled 1833-1845) Repaired and fortified the fort.

Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon (ruled 1845-1855) Turned Qasr Al Hosn into a strong two-storied structure.

Sheikh Zayed bin Khalifa (ruled 1855-1909) Expanded Qasr Al Hosn further to reflect the emirate's increasing prominence.

Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan (ruled 1928-1966) Renovated and enlarged Qasr Al Hosn, adding a decorative arch and two new villas.

Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan (ruled 1966-2004) Moved the royal residence to Al Manhal palace and kept his diwan at Qasr Al Hosn.

Sources: Jayanti Maitra, www.adach.ae

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

TO CATCH A KILLER

Director: Damian Szifron

Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ben Mendelsohn, Ralph Ineson

Rating: 2/5

Rooney's club record

At Everton Appearances: 77; Goals: 17

At Manchester United Appearances: 559; Goals: 253

SM Town Live is on Friday, April 6 at Autism Rocks Arena, Dubai. Tickets are Dh375 at www.platinumlist.net

QUARTER-FINAL

Wales 20-19 France

Wales: T: Wainwright, Moriarty. Cons: Biggar (2) Pens: Biggar 2

France: T: Vahaamahina, Ollivon, Vakatawa Cons: Ntamack (2)

Meg 2: The Trench

Director: Ben Wheatley
Stars: Jason Statham, Jing Wu, Cliff Curtis, Page Kennedy, Cliff Curtis, Melissanthi Mahut and Shuya Sophia Cai
Rating: 2/5