The leaders of Turkish and Greek Cyprus will meet in Geneva on Monday to resume discussions on reuniting the island in the hopes of reaching a historic peace accord.
Following a Greek coup in 1974 and subsequent Turkish invasion, Cyprus was split into a northern Turkish region and a southern Greek territory. The last reunification attempt in 2004 faltered over Greek Cypriot concerns regarding the continued presence of Turkish troops on the island.
Monday’s meeting continues 18 months of negotiations as the two sides attempt to resolve territorial trade-offs.
Greek Cypriots insist on the withdrawal of the 35,000 Turkish troops stationed on Cyprus must precede any deal, but Turkish officials have criticised their Greek counterparts for not prioritising other reunification issues. With the suspension of Turkey’s accession to the EU – previously a major incentive for Ankara to cooperate in Cyprus – Turkey may become more obstinate.
This round of discussions is likely to reaffirm both factions’ commitment to reunification and forge new ground on some of the more controversial issues, but a final peace accord may still require substantial diplomatic effort.