NICOSIA — The outgoing United Nations envoy to ethnically split Cyprus says the bailed-out country’s economic problems could bolster the chances of a long-elusive peace accord.
Alexander Downer told a farewell news conference that Cyprus’ shrunken economy and high unemployment could get people to focus on the benefits an accord would bring, such as a potential increase in foreign investment and a tourism influx.
Numerous rounds of peace talks between internationally recognized Greek Cypriots and breakaway Turkish Cypriots have stalled since the country’s division in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.
A new round of negotiations began last month. Downer, who served in the post for 5½ years, said there’s “positive momentum” in the talks and that a “deal can be done.”