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UN: Cyprus Reunification Deal 'Within Reach'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (center) poses for photographers with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci (left) and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades during the Cyprus reunification talks in the Swiss mountain resort of Mont Pelerin on November 7.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says a deal to reunite the divided island of Cyprus is "within reach" as he opens talks in Switzerland.

Ban said the five-day negotiations between Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart, Mustafa Akinci, will focus on the issue of territory and "other outstanding issues."

"The prospect of a solution in Cyprus is within their reach. Expectations in both communities are high," he told reporters on November 7.

Nicosia has been at loggerheads with Turkey since a 1974 Turkish invasion partitioned the island into two sectors, the Greek Cypriot side recognized internationally as Cyprus, and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state.

The northern Cyprus state is recognized only by Turkey and subject to international sanctions.

The recent discovery of natural-gas reserves off the island's coast has raised the stakes in any peace deal.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP