Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot leaders remain committed to reaching a settlement on the divided island of Cyprus, UN's special envoy to Cyprus said Wednesday.
Espen Barth Eide's remarks came at a news conference following a three-hour meeting with the president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci, and Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades.
"Today the Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades completed an intensive phase of eight meetings.
"The leaders reiterated that they remain determined to do their utmost to reach a comprehensive settlement as described in the joint declaration of 11 February, 2014," Eide said.
The UN envoy spoke of the "significant progress" achieved on many of the outstanding issues such as governance, economy, European Union, power sharing and property, adding the two leaders were determined to come to a mutually-acceptable agreement on the unresolved issues.
Eide said the leaders would continue to hold further meetings in order to reach a comprehensive settlement by the end of 2016, one of which will include a trilateral meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on Sep. 25 in New York.
Turkish Cypriot President Akinci, for his part, said the negotiations would resume in October upon returning to Cyprus following the New York meeting.
"The goal then will be to minimize or if possible solve any unresolved issues. The next few months are very important in this regard," he said.
Akinci underlined the importance of reaching a settlement by the end of 2016.
“It is not the goal of the Turkish Cypriot side to have open-ended negotiations that continue into the next year,” he said, adding he expected the New York meeting to provide the planning for this.
Reunification talks between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities on the island resumed in May 2015 when the newly-elected President Akinci met Anastasiades.
The eastern Mediterranean island was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup on the island was followed by the intervention of Turkey as a guarantor power.
Source: Anadolu Agency