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Guterres: “No miracles” should be expected in Cyprus peace talks

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has hailed progress in the negotiations underway between rival leaders of Cyprus, but cautioned against any expectations of “miracles” coming out

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has hailed progress in the negotiations underway between rival leaders of Cyprus, but cautioned against any expectations of “miracles” coming out of the peace talks.

Guterres made the remarks in Geneva on Thursday after opening a conference in the Swiss city aimed at reaching a deal to end four decades of stalemate in the eastern Mediterranean island.

Although “enormous progress” had been made on resolving the issues such as property, territory and ties with the European Union, “a number of instruments” were needed regarding security options, he said.

“You cannot expect miracles of immediate solutions, we are not looking for a quick fix,” he said, adding, “We are looking for a solid sustainable solution for the Republic of Cyprus.”

Cyprus has been split since 1974, when Turkish forces occupied its northern third in response to a military coup seeking union with Greece.

Some 800,000 Greek Cypriots and about 220,000 Turkish Cypriots live on the island with a UN- patrolled Green Line dividing it.

Elsewhere in his comments, the UN chief said the Cypriot leaders were close to reaching a reunification deal, but there were obstacles on how to “implement” the agreement.

Thursday’s conference was seeking to find a new system that “guarantees the security concerns” of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, he added.

“My hope is there will be a breakthrough,” he further noted, stressing that Cyprus “can be the symbol of hope of the beginning of 2017.”

Guterres is chairing the Conference on Cyprus Peace Talks in Geneva. The event is attended by the foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus’ former colonial ruler Britain who are guarantor powers of the island.