UN: Cyprus rivals need to keep commitment to reunification

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday encouraging rival Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots "to sustain their commitment" to reunifying the divided Mediterranean island following the collapse of talks earlier this month.

The council welcomed progress made by leaders of the two communities and urged them to focus their efforts on reaching agreement on outstanding issues, saying "the status quo is unsustainable."

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish-speaking north and a Greek-speaking south in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by Cypriots who supported uniting the island with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it and still maintains around 35,000 troops there.

Security arrangements for an envisioned united Cyprus were the linchpin to a reunification deal.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the talks' collapsed because Greece and Greek Cypriots insisted that Ankara pull out all of its troops from the island and abolish its military intervention rights.

"For Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot side it is not acceptable for troops to be withdrawn," he told reporters in Switzerland after the talks ended without agreement July 6.

The U.N. special adviser on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, said after separate meetings with the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities Monday that neither side offered hope for a quick return to negotiations.

The Security Council resolution stressed the need for both sides to move forward on discussions of "military confidence-building measures." It also called for renewed efforts to implement all remaining confidence-building measures "to build trust between the communities."

The council noted that nearly half of all missing persons from the 1970s have yet to be located, and around 61.5 percent have not been identified. It called on all parties "to provide more expeditious, full access to all areas."

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