UN-hosted Cyprus talks resume in Swiss Alpine resort

Envoys are trying to reunify the island's Greek and Turkish communities after 43 years.

Supporters of the peace process hold placards at the beginning of a new round of UN talks on reuniting the divided island nation of Cyprus,  in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP
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GENEVA // Talks aimed at reunifying the Mediterranean island of Cyprus resumed on Wednesday with crucial discussions over future security arrangements topping the agenda.

High-level envoys arrived at the Swiss Alpine resort of Crans-Montana for a new round of UN-sponsored talks aimed at reunifying the country's Greek and Turkish communities after 43 years of division.

Discussions are focusing first on topics such as territory and governance, before attention turned to the thorny issue of security in the evening. One major point of contention between the two sides is the future of the 35,000 Turkish troops on the island.

The presence of the foreign ministers of Turkey and Greece, the Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and the Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci  makes this the highest-level meeting for six months.

"There is always hope," said Mr Anastasiades as he arrived at the meeting venue.

Britain, a former colonial power in Cyprus, and the European Union are also represented at the talks  that are aimed at securing a breakthrough in the quest to reunify the island. Cyprus was divided along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkish troops invaded the island after supporters of union with Greece led a failed coup.

About a dozen Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot activists from the peace group #UniteCyprusNow waved flags and held placards reading "peace" and "unite Cyprus now" outside the hall where the peace talks are taking place.

"We want the leaders to know that the people are watching and they'll be held accountable for their actions," activist Andromachi Sophocleous said.

Associated Press