UN official to visit Cyprus amid impasse in peace talks

NEW YORK - A senior official will embark on a two-day visit to Cyprus to meet leaders of both sides of the divided island, the UN said Thursday.

Espen Barth Eide, UN secretary-general's special adviser on Cyprus, whose trip will begin Tuesday, will provide details of his meetings when he briefs the Security Council on Jan. 26, said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

The latest round of peace talks between Greek and Turkish Cypriot zones have been on hold since October.

"The visit is intended to hear the leaders’ views of the current impasse in the talks and prospects for its resolution," Dujarric said.

The island has been divided into a Turkish Cypriot administration in the northern third and a Greek Cypriot one in the southern two-thirds after a Greek-Cypriot coup was followed by a Turkish peace mission in 1974 to aid the Turkish Cypriots.

Negotiations between the two sides resumed in 2013 after a two-year pause. Greek Cypriots suspended the talks last October in retaliation for a Turkish move to monitor Greek side's oil-and-gas exploration activity off the island's coast.

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