U.N.'s Ban to open Cyprus talks in Switzerland next month
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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon sits at his desk as he poses for a portrait in his office at United Nations Headquarters in the Manhattan borough of New York, New York, U.S., October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
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ATHENS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will launch a new phase of peace talks between the leaders of ethnically-split Cyprus in Switzerland on Nov. 7, the United Nations said on Friday.
It was a "critical juncture" in the talks process, Ban's special adviser, Espen Barth Eide, said in a statement.
The leaders of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities are due to discuss territory trade-offs during the week-long consultations at the resort of Mont Pelerin.
"The meeting will concentrate on the chapter of territory, as well as all other outstanding issues interdependently," Eide said.
The island was split by a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup, forcing mass displacement of its populations with Greek Cypriots now living in its south and Turkish Cypriots in its north. A United Nations peacekeeping force mans a ceasefire line splitting the two sides.
"The two leaders have jointly expressed their hope that the meeting in Switzerland will pave the way for the last phase of the talks, in line with their shared commitment to do their utmost in order to reach a settlement within 2016," Eide said.
It will be the first time leaders have directly negotiated territorial adjustments which would move the boundary now existing between the two sides and reunite Cyprus under a federal umbrella.
Previous reunification proposals have given the numerically larger Greek Cypriots a bigger proportion of territory than they now occupy, but could also signal a displacement of Turkish Cypriots, or arrangements to live under Greek Cypriot control.
"It is important to recognize the particular sensitivity of this chapter for both sides, which is a key reason why the leaders have agreed to hold the talks outside of Cyprus, and why they want to conduct them interdependently with other relevant chapters," Eide said.
(Reporting By Michele Kambas; Editing by Angus MacSwan)
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