GENEVA Talks to hammer out a new security deal for Cyprus have showed encouraging results, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, but he cautioned against any expectations of a quick fix.
Cyprus was split by a Turkish invasion in 1974 that followed a brief coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. It has remained split ever since, with Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island and Greek Cypriots in the south.
Flanked by Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, Guterres said he believed Cyprus could be a "symbol of hope" at a time the world faced so many disasters.
"We are working hard to have a settlement that addresses the central questions that have been discussed for a long time in relation to territory, in relation to property, in relation to the EU (European Union), in relation to foreign policy, and in relation to all the aspects," Guterres said.
"Enormous progress was made in all those dossiers."
Guterres is chairing a security conference on Cyprus in Geneva, attended by the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Britain. The three countries are guarantor powers of the island under a convoluted treaty which granted Cyprus independence from Britain in 1960.
Guterres added: "Again, it will not be a quick fix."
U.N. Cyprus envoy Espen Barth Eide told reporters that Thursday's meeting had seen a preliminary sharing of ideas, but nothing close to a conclusion on security questions.
"This was the very, very first starting, so we cannot say much more than a number of ideas were presented but not really discussed or negotiated," Eide said.
(additional reporting By Tom Miles and Stephanie Nebahay; editing by Richard Lough)