Historic day for Cyprus as conference gets under way!

Participants to the Conference on Cyprus started to arrive on Thursday morning at the Palace of Nations, the UN Headquarters in Geneva.

The conference, which will address the issue of security and guarantees in the framework of the Cyprus talks, is scheduled to start at 11.15am (local time).

UN Secretary General António Guterres entered the building at 10.04am local time and was followed a few minutes latter by Federica Mogherini, the EU`s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and the members of the Greek delegation.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Minister of State at the Foreign Office Alan Duncan had arrived earlier today, at 9.35am local time.

Talks begin at 11.15am local time and will be opened by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

According to a UN note to correspondents, the conference will take place in the Council Chamber at the UN Palace of Nations, “with the participation of His Excellency Nicos Anastasiades, His Excellency Mustafa Akinci, the Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, Espen Barth Eide, and the representatives of the guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom”.

“The European Union will also be attending as an observer/interested party” it is added.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci have been engaged in UN-led talks since May 2015 with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

The two leaders and their respective delegations have been in Geneva since January 9th, discussing the internal aspects of the Cyprus problem, while the conference on Thursday will focus on security and guarantees, an issue involving the three guarantor powers of the Republic of Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Britain.

source: CNA