UN envoy in shuttle diplomacy for Cyprus talks' final phase
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NICOSIA, Cyprus — A United Nations envoy on Thursday shuttled between the rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus to clinch agreement on holding a summit in Geneva, where it's hoped two years of reunification talks will produce success.
Espen Barth Eide said after talks with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci that both men were ready for a "final phase" of negotiations.
But Eide said some "outstanding issues" need to be cleared up before another summit can be scheduled in a process that's said to have gone farther than previous reunification attempts over 40 years.
Anastasiades said he has pitched a proposal that could pave the way to a summit. But he decried what he said was a bid to foist responsibility for possible failure on his shoulders.
He criticized the Turkish Cypriot side for insisting on a summit without first committing to resolve how the island's land would be apportioned as Greek and Turkish Cypriot-administered parts of a federal Cyprus.
On Wednesday, Akinci faulted Anastasiades for insisting on tackling outstanding issues individually rather than packaging them together for a final give-and take.
Cyprus has been divided since a 1974 Turkish invasion in the wake of a coup mounted by supporters of uniting the island with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared independence in the island's northern third.
Greek Cypriots want enough territory ceded to their administration that would ensure the return of around 90,000 displaced persons to their homes and properties. However, Turkish Cypriots have offered less.