Cyprus urges immediate UN bid for quick peace talks restart

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus' foreign minister urged an immediate U.N. bid on Monday to scope out prospects of quickly restarting moribund talks to reunify the ethnically divided island.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides hailed U.N. chief Antonio Guterres' decision to task an official with figuring out whether conditions are again ripe for another round of peace talks.

Mustafa Akinci, the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots, has also welcomed the move.

However, it's unclear whether Guterres will dispatch a representative for contacts in the region before or after Turkey's June 24 national election.

Numerous rounds of negotiations over more than four decades have gone nowhere. The most recent talks collapse was in July last year.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric reminded reporters Monday that when the July talks collapsed "the secretary-general encouraged all parties to reflect in order to determine whether the conditions would mature again for a meaningful process in the future."

Asked for the U.N. response to the latest moves by the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Dujarric said: "We are in contact with the parties to determine a way to seek the outcomes of their reflection, and on the views of their way forward."

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

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