'Significant progress' in talks for reunification of Cyprus

GENEVA (AFP) - Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders have made "significant progress" in talks over the reunification of Cyprus, the United Nations said late on Friday (Nov 11).

Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have spent the past five days of UN-backed peace negotiations at a luxury Swiss resort overlooking the Alps.

"During these past five days, the chapter on territory and all other issues were discussed inter-dependently. Significant progress has been achieved," the UN said in a statement.

The negotiations will continue in Geneva on November 20.

The Mediterranean resort island has been split since 1974, when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

The United Nations has launched several failed peace drives over the last four decades, but the latest bid has been billed as the last best hope for an enduring truce.

The rival leaders are trying to agree on the internal boundary dividing two prospective states. The future Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot regions would be largely autonomous, but would exist under a unified Cyprus, with one head of state.

But any deal will require tough compromises on territory swaps, which could see a number of Turkish Cypriots displaced from their homes.