UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held an informal meeting with Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders on Monday in a bid to revive Cyprus settlement talks.
Guterres met President Mustafa Akinci of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades for an informal dinner at Berlin’s historical Adlon Hotel, following separate talks with the leaders.
It was the first trilateral meeting between the UN chief, Akinci and Anastasiades, since the UN-led talks collapsed two years ago in Switzerland.
Ahead of the informal talks in Berlin, TRNC President Akinci had expressed hope for making progress in reviving UN-led talks.
“We came here with the hope and intention to make a positive step forward toward a solution,” he told reporters on Sunday.
Akinci was cautious about a probable five-party Cyprus conference in the coming months involving guarantor powers Turkey, Greece and the U.K., and stressed that more work needed to ensure that such a meeting would not be another unsuccessful attempt.
The Cyprus problem has remained unresolved for decades despite a series of efforts by the United Nations, while recent tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean have further complicated the problem.
The TRNC disputes the Greek Cypriot administration’s claim to be the sole legitimate government of the whole of Cyprus, while the Greek Cypriots oppose recognizing the political equality of the Turkish Cypriots.
The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot government in the northern third and Greek Cypriot administration in the south since a 1974 military coup aimed at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece.
Turkey’s intervention as a guarantor power in 1974 had stopped years-long persecution and violence against Turkish Cypriots by ultra-nationalist Greek Cypriots.