UNITED NATIONS – Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci says he expects a meeting Sunday with his Greek Cypriot counterpart and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide a road map for reunification of the ethnically split Mediterranean island.
Cyprus was divided into a breakaway Turkish-speaking north and an internationally recognized Greek-speaking south in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup aimed at unifying with Greece.
Akinci and his Greek Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades have said they have made progress on many issues, including on how to share power in a possible federation. But more work needs to be done. Akinci met with Ban on Saturday and Anastasiades met with the U.N. chief on Sept. 18.
"Hopefully tomorrow's meeting ... will indicate the way which will carry us to the long-awaited final conclusion," Akinci told reporters after meeting with Ban at the U.N. on Saturday.
Ban will not act as an arbitrator but will address concerns if discussions appear to favor one side over the other. He has said that the discussions are "Cypriot-owned and Cypriot-led."
Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday during its annual ministerial meeting, Anastasiades said that despite differences, the goal of reaching a deal in 2016 was achievable.
"I wish to, yet again, reiterate my resolve to continue working with the same determination and intensive pace in order to reach a solution ... if possible, by the end of the year," he said. "I do believe that this ambitious goal is achievable," he said.
Anastasiades said the two sides still have differences on several issues, including European Union membership, the economy and property rights. Security is another point of contention: Turkish Cypriots want Turkey to retain military intervention rights, which Greek Cypriots see as non-negotiable.
Akinci said he also hoped for an agreement in 2016, in part because Ban's term of office ends in December.