Rough start in Anastasiades-Akinci talks on Cyprus problem

In their first meeting since February, Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said they had a constructive exchange of views and would continue to work with a United Nations envoy.

"They decided to continue engaging in the efforts undertaken … with the determination to finaliσe the terms of reference that would enable structured and results-oriented negotiations leading to a settlement with a sense of urgency," a U.N. statement issued on behalf of the two said.

Recent natural gas discoveries in the sea area surrounding the island has brought the issue into sharper focus, with Turkey disputing the right of the island to explore for gas.

At present Cyprus's internationally-recognized government is comprised solely of Greek Cypriots, a legacy of a constitutional breakdown in 1963 when a power-sharing administration with Turkish Cypriots crumbled amid violence.

The last round of U.N.-sponsored negotiations collapsed in 2017 over the role of Turkey in a post-settlement Cyprus.

Ankara demands a right to intervene militarily under a specious interpretation of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, which made Greece, Britain and Turkey «guarantor powers».

The Republic of Cyprus opposed any interpretation of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee that states that guarantor powers Greece, Turkey or Britain to intervene on the island.

Turkey used its specious interpretation of that treaty in 1974 to invade and occupy until this day 37% of the island Republic's territory.

"I must admit that disagreements persist on serious issues, but there is also a consensus that without dialogue these differences cannot be bridged," Anastasiades told journalists after the meeting.

EU member Cyprus and Turkey have...

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