peace talks

The refusal of the Turkish Cypriot side to return the Turkish occupied town of Morphou to the Greek Cypriot administered area, in an eventual agreed solution, has led to the collapse of the UN-led peace talks, according to Greek Cypriot sources close to the talks.

The Turkish Cypriot side, they said after the collapse of the talks on territorial adjustment criteria early this morning, would not agree on the number of refugees to return to their homes under Greek Cypriot administration, as proposed by the Greek Cypriot side.

The Greek Cypriot proposal, they explained, would have meant the inclusion of Morphou in the Greek Cypriot constituent state, when drawing a map on the territorial adjustments. Turkish occupied Morphou lies on the northwestern coast of Cyprus.

According to the same sources, the goal of the Turkish Cypriot side was to link the discussion on territory with the issue of security and guarantees.

During the negotiations in Mont Pelerin, in Switzerland, discussions focused on the percentage of territory that would have been returned to the Greek Cypriot side and the number of refugees to settle back in their properties under Greek Cypriot administration.

The difference in the position on territory between the two sides ranged between 27.2% and 28.2%.

The Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci did not appear willing to compromise, nor did he seem to have secured the green light from Ankara to reach a satisfactory compromise on the number of refugees who would return under Greek Cypriot administration. Such a move would have meant the return to the Greek Cypriot constituent state of the town of Morphou, with an estimated number of refugees at 7.500.

Akinci, the same sources indicated, appeared to advocate a discussion on territory at a multi-party conference, something which the President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades had said was not possible because it would have linked discussions on territory with security concerns.

Such a conference, the Greek Cypriot side maintains, would have to deal with security and guarantees of a future federal Cyprus and could take place once the two sides are within range of an agreement, having already addressed territorial concerns.

The Greek Cypriot sides has repeatedly said that it wants to abolish the 1960 system of guarantees which stipulated that Greece, the UK and Turkey would guarantee the Republic`s independence and territorial integrity.

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

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