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UN moves to revive Cyprus talks

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United Nations (United States) (AFP)

The UN Security Council on Tuesday urged all sides in Cyprus to consider resuming talks on a settlement, a year after negotiations on reuniting the Mediterranean island broke down in acrimony.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is sending a consultant, Jane Holl Lute, to Cyprus next week for consultations on whether there is a willingness to make a fresh effort after the year-long break.

Following a closed-door meeting on Cyprus, the council welcomed the appointment of Holl Lute, a former US deputy secretary for homeland security, and urged the parties to go back to the negotiating table.

The council called on the sides "to engage meaningfully with the UN consultations to seize the opportunity they represent to urgently build on the progress achieved towards a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution to the Cyprus issue," said Swedish Ambassador Olof Skoog, who holds the council presidency.

Talks on reunifying Cyprus broke down in July last year when Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders failed to agree on compromises concerning power-sharing and security arrangements for the island.

The UN-brokered negotiations in Switzerland had been billed as the best hope in decades to resolve the Cyprus issue, one of the world's longest frozen conflicts.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in response to a Greek military junta-sponsored coup.

Thousands of Turkish troops remain stationed in the north and Nicosia remains the world's last divided capital.

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