One of Europe's Longest Conflicts May Finally End

After 40 years, talks could reunify island of Cyprus
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2017 2:03 PM CST
One of Europe's Longest Conflicts May Finally End
People stand behind a fence at the Turkish Cypriot area and look to the Greek Cypriot area in the divided capital Nicosia.   (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

It may not generate the headlines of other global conflicts, but the Mediterranean island of Cyprus has the distinction of being home to Europe's last divided capital city. After four decades, however, that might soon change. The island has been split between a Greece-controlled area and a smaller Turkey-controlled region since 1974, and diplomats from the two countries are meeting in Geneva this week to try to hammer out an agreement. Coverage:

  • The talks: What's happening now is the culmination of 19 months of complex negotiations over how a new Cyprus would be run. Barring a last-minute collapse, Britain will join the talks later this week to help cinch a deal. The AP lays it out here.
  • Sticking points: The status of property abandoned long ago, the logistics of a rotating presidency, and the role of Turkish troops are among the logistics to be straightened out. The BBC has details, and more background.

  • Natural gas: One thing that might spur an agreement is the discovery of offshore gas reserves worth $50 billion. CNBC explains.
  • Symbolic house: The story of the conflict can be seen through the eyes of two men, one whose family left its home in northern Cyprus when the trouble began and the second who lives in it now. The AP tells their story.
  • The big deal? "If successful, the island’s reunification could be a game-changer in Europe, provide a (very) last-minute foreign-policy win for the Obama administration, and inspire a region immersed in conflict." So asserts an analysis at Foreign Policy.
  • Risks vs. rewards: While a deal would surely benefit the island, it would also carry risks for Cyprus' neighbors. See the Financial Times.
(More Cyprus stories.)

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