Cyprus peace talks resume in Geneva after four-year hiatus

The leaders of Greek and Turkish Cyprus, along with top diplomats from Turkey and Greece, are coming together for an informal meeting in Geneva on Tuesday.

The United Nations will seek to find a common ground between the two sides to resume peace negotiations. Talks on reunification were last held in Crans Montana, Switzerland almost four years ago.

The talks, hosted by the U.N., are due to conclude on Thursday.

Cyprus has been divided since Turkey invaded in 1974 in response to a brief Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting it with Greece. Numerous diplomatic efforts to reunify the Mediterranean island have failed.

The majority of Greek Cypriots opposed reunification under a U.N. bizonal, bicommunal model in a referendum on April 24, 2004, a week before the Republic of Cyprus joined the European Union on behalf of the whole island. Turkish Cypriots approved the plan.

Turkey and the pro-Ankara government in Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern Cyprus are now rejecting the U.N.’s long-standing bizonal solution, saying that a series of talks on the model ultimately failed. Instead, they say the north should be recognised as an independent state. The Greek Cypriot side and Greece say a solution must be based on single sovereignty, single citizenship and single international representation.

Efforts at a solution have snagged over the presence of around 30,000 Turkish troops on the island. The Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus has called for full military withdrawal, saying Turkey is an occupying power. Greek Cypriots are also calling for the elimination of a system where Greece, Turkey and Britain act as guarantors for security, a proposal that the Turkish Cypriot government is opposing.

Greece and Britain also maintain a military presence on the island, though their size is far smaller.

The internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus controls the southern two-thirds of the island and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), a self-styled state recognised only by Turkey, governs the remainder.