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Cyprus president: United States vice president offers peace talks help

10 Juin 2017

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) - Cyprus' president says U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has offered his personal help in ongoing talks to reunify the ethnically divided island.

The conference will host Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a statement through his spokesman.

Dujarric said Friday the European Union will be present as an observer.

The pair met several times in Geneva previous year, but their last meeting in February was fraught with controversy over a Greek Cypriot decision to introduce a commemoration of the 1950 Enosis referendum on unification with Greece.

United Nations -sponsored reunification talks have been slow because of several sensitive issues, including Turkish demands that Turkish forces be allowed to stay on the island.

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Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974, triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup.

Anastasiades insists on prioritizing agreement on the withdrawal of over 35,000 troops that Turkey keeps in the north and which Greek Cypriots see as a threat.

Eide said at that time that the next round in late June would likely last two weeks.

But the Turkish Cypriots maintained that the conference should focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation.

Turkish officials and Akinci have warned of a possible crisis if drilling goes ahead without a peace deal.

Cyprus president: United States vice president offers peace talks help