Cyprus Talks 'Very Last Chance', Says EU's Juncker
Rival Cypriot leaders meeting in Switzerland are facing "the very last chance" to end the four-decades-old division of Cyprus, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday.
Juncker urged the two sides to take risks for peace as Turkish and Greek Cypriots held a third round of talks in Geneva after two earlier inconclusive sessions since November.
"I really think that, without overdramatizing what is happening in Geneva, that this is the very last chance to see (a solution for) the island being imposed in a normal way," Juncker told reporters in Valletta at the start of Malta's six-month EU presidency.
Juncker, the head of the 28-nation EU's executive arm, said that explained why he was personally going to Cyprus on Thursday as an observer to the talks if all goes well.
"When it's about peace, you have to take the plane," he said.
"When it's about peace, you have to take risks. When it's about peace, those who are taking no risk are taking the greater risk," he said.
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish troops invaded in July 1974 in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.
The three days of talks involving Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades are set to wrap up Wednesday, with the parties presenting maps of their proposals for the internal boundaries of a future bi-zonal federation on the eastern Mediterranean island.
If that goes to plan, they will be joined from Thursday for an international conference chaired by the U.N.'s new secretary general, Antonio Guterres, and attended by representatives of the island's three guarantor powers -- former colonial ruler Britain, Greece and Turkey, plus Juncker.
But deep divisions remain on core issues such as property, territorial adjustments and security.