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No guarantee of success in Cyprus talks: UN envoy

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Next week's talks between Greece and Turkey on the reunification of Cyprus will not be easy and there was no guarantee of success, the UN envoy on Cyprus warned Tuesday.

"The starting positions of the different sides are very different," the UN's Espen Barth Eide told reporters in Athens.

"It takes quite a lot of proactivity and fresh thinking to find ways to overcome the traditional differences," he added.

"It's not going to be easy."

The United Nations is leading a new international meeting on the subject at the Swiss Alpine resort of Crans Montana, starting on Wednesday next week.

In talks in Athens Monday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim played down their differences and agreed to strengthen ties in tourism, transport and energy.

"Everyone tells me that they go to Switzerland with the intention of actually finding a real solution," Eide said Tuesday.

The talks could go on for weeks if necessary, if that was what it took to get agreement on the key issues of security, governance and power sharing, said Eide.

But he added: "I can't promise you that it will work."

Guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain will also attend the conference, as will a representative of the European Union as an observer.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

Next week’s talks between Greece and Turkey on the reunification of Cyprus will not be easy and there was no guarantee of success, the UN envoy on Cyprus warned Tuesday.

“The starting positions of the different sides are very different,” the UN’s Espen Barth Eide told reporters in Athens.

“It takes quite a lot of proactivity and fresh thinking to find ways to overcome the traditional differences,” he added.

“It’s not going to be easy.”

The United Nations is leading a new international meeting on the subject at the Swiss Alpine resort of Crans Montana, starting on Wednesday next week.

In talks in Athens Monday, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Turkish counterpart Binali Yildirim played down their differences and agreed to strengthen ties in tourism, transport and energy.

“Everyone tells me that they go to Switzerland with the intention of actually finding a real solution,” Eide said Tuesday.

The talks could go on for weeks if necessary, if that was what it took to get agreement on the key issues of security, governance and power sharing, said Eide.

But he added: “I can’t promise you that it will work.”

Guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and Britain will also attend the conference, as will a representative of the European Union as an observer.

The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

AFP
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