The United Nations says there was not enough common ground to resume negotiations on war-divided Cyprus, after a three-day summit attempting to break a four-year impasse in peace negotiations.
Diplomats had been trying to make headway to end a decades-old conflict between rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots which destabilises the eastern Mediterranean and is a key source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.
“The truth is that in the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a press conference in Geneva.
He said the United Nations would make a fresh attempt in “probably two or three months”.
Guterres had invited officials of the two communities in Cyprus, as well as the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom – a former colonial ruler in Cyprus – to attend in an effort to resume peace negotiations that collapsed in mid-2017.
Cyprus was split between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north in 1974.
Previous talks on reunification under a federal umbrella, as called for in UN resolutions, have failed.
Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership, which is headed by Ersin Tatar and allied with Ankara, have dismissed further discussions about a federation-based accord as a “waste of time” because nearly five decades of negotiations on that model have gone nowhere.
Instead, they have proposed what is essentially a two-state model that Greek Cypriots have in turn said they would not accept because it would legitimise the country’s partition.
The breakaway Turkish Cypriot enclave set up after a Turkish military invasion is recognised only by Ankara, while the Greek Cypriot administration is internationally recognised as the government of Cyprus.
That invasion came after a coup that sought to join the island to Greece.