UN envoy calls off Cyprus talks, no deal on peace summit

FILE - In this Monday, May 11, 2015 file photo, Cyprus' president Nicos Anastasiades, right, Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, left, and United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide shake hands after a dinner at the Ledra Palace Hotel inside the UN controlled buffer zone that divides the Cypriot capital Nicosia. United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide on Friday, May 26, 2017, has called off talks with the rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus after failing to find "common ground" on convening a final summit that would aim for an overall reunification deal. Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016 file photo, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, left, and breakaway Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, right, talk as a guard stands in front of a car after their meeting aimed at reunifying the ethnically divided island, at the disused Nicosia airport inside a United Nations controlled buffer zone in this divided island of Cyprus. United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide on Friday, May 26, 2017, has called off talks with the rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus after failing to find "common ground" on convening a final summit that would aim for an overall reunification deal. Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

NICOSIA, Cyprus — A United Nations envoy called off talks with the rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus on Friday after failing to find "common ground" on convening a final summit to aim for an overall reunification deal.

It is seen as the biggest setback to the negotiations since they began two years ago, but the U.N. said the years-long peace process had not collapsed.

Espen Barth Eide had been meeting separately with the leaders and said that despite serious efforts to overcome differences there is "no prospect" for agreement on the summit's details. He said he would consult with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the next steps.

The peace process hasn't fallen apart, Aleem Siddique, spokesman for the U.N. in Cyprus, told The Associated Press. He said it's now up to the island's Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to decide on the way forward.

The island was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

The negotiations that began in May 2015 have made significant progress on how to share power in an envisioned federation, but they have stumbled on pivotal issues of post-reunification security arrangements and how much territory each side would administer.

The current impasse concerns the 35,000 troops that Turkey keeps in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north. Greek Cypriots want all Turkish troops gone as part of any deal and propose an international police force to oversee security. The minority Turkish Cypriots say the troops are their only security guarantee. Turkish officials have said there can be no peace deal without a Turkish troop presence.

Anastasiades wants to resolve the security issue at a final summit before settling remaining disagreements. Akinci insists on negotiating all outstanding issues together as part of a give-and-take process.

Akinci on Friday said he wouldn't accept Anastasiades' "preconditions" to a summit.

Anastasiades said he "deeply regretted" Akinci's rejection of his proposal, as well as Eide's invitation for a face-to-face meeting on Monday.

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