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Divided Cyprus' leaders conclude 'historic' map exchange

A Turkish woman walks in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A Turkish woman walks in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
United Nations Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide speaks to the media about the Cyprus Peace Talks, during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11,, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
United Nations Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide speaks to the media about the Cyprus Peace Talks, during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11,, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
A boy pushes a cart in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A boy pushes a cart in the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci arrives for the third day of Cyprus peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci arrives for the third day of Cyprus peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
Women walk past a UN guard post at the fence that divides the Greek and Turkish Cypriots areas, in the Turkish Cypriots breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Women walk past a UN guard post at the fence that divides the Greek and Turkish Cypriots areas, in the Turkish Cypriots breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
This photo taken from the Greek Cypriot controlled area in the south, shows a Turkish military guard post, left, and a minaret of a mosque in the right, both at the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
This photo taken from the Greek Cypriot controlled area in the south, shows a Turkish military guard post, left, and a minaret of a mosque in the right, both at the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
United Nations Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide speaks to the media about the Cyprus Peace Talks, during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11,, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
United Nations Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide speaks to the media about the Cyprus Peace Talks, during a press conference, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11,, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
A man sits in front of the fence that divides the Greek and Turkish Cypriots areas, as he watches from the Turkish Cypriots breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A man sits in front of the fence that divides the Greek and Turkish Cypriots areas, as he watches from the Turkish Cypriots breakaway northern part of the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. The talks will take on an international dimension on Thursday with the arrival of leaders from Britain, Greece and Turkey. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades arrives for the third day of Cyprus peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades arrives for the third day of Cyprus peace talks at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)
A man and a woman cross the Ledras street checkpoint from the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part to the Greek Cypriot area at the south, in the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. Graffiti on the wall reads in Greek "YES", referring to the reunification, (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
A man and a woman cross the Ledras street checkpoint from the Turkish Cypriot breakaway northern part to the Greek Cypriot area at the south, in the divided capital Nicosia in the eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. The rivals leaders of Cyprus have begun a third day of talks aimed at reunifying the island split along ethnic Greek and Turkish lines. Graffiti on the wall reads in Greek "YES", referring to the reunification, (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 4:06 PM
GENEVA (AP) -- The rival leaders of ethnically divided Cyprus exchanged maps Wednesday outlining the zones the island's Greek and Turkish communities would control in a hoped-for federation, the first time such a swap has occurred after decades of reunification talks.

The maps now have been locked in a United Nations vault due to the sensitive nature of the proposed boundaries, which indicate how many people displaced by the nation's division may be eligible to reclaim lost homes and property relatively quickly.

Discussions to thrash out a single, compromise map will be scheduled for a later date, government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides said.

He said it would be up to Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anasastaides and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to decide when those negotiations take place.

"This is not the end of the road," Christodoulides told reporters. "This is the beginning of negotiations on a very important chapter of the Cyprus problem."

Turkish Cypriot spokesman Baris Burcu said both maps conformed to already agreed upon criteria for how much of the island's land would go to the Turkish Cypriot zone -- between 28.2 and 29.2 percent.

In the meantime, the talks will move in an international direction on Thursday. The foreign ministers of Cyprus' so-called guarantors -- Turkey, Greece and former colonial power Britain -- are set to join a discussion on the pivotal issue of post-unification security arrangements.

Anastasiades and Akinci have been meeting in Geneva since Monday to discuss a number of outstanding issues that could restore unity to the island split by ethnic divisions for almost 43 years.

Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974 in response to a coup aiming to unite the island with Greece. Many residents were stripped of homes and property when Cyprus divided into an official Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish north where Turkey has more than 35,000 troops stationed.

Top leaders from the European Union, which counts Cyprus as a member, are also expected to join the talks Thursday that will concentrate on how to ensure and who will oversee post-settlement security.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters on Wednesday that the talks were "the very last chance to see the island being recomposed in a normal way."

However, United Nations envoy Espen Barth Eide, who is facilitating the talks, sought to downplay expectations. Eide said that the process remains on track to overcome major obstacles.

He pointed to "historic" advances happening at the summit, such as the exchange of boundary maps and the participation of the three guarantor powers at such a high-level.

But a deal likely won't emerge immediately from the summit since important technical details need to be sorted out before Cyprus' Greek and Turkish communities can vote on an overall agreement, Eide said.

"So don't expect that we will be walking home from Geneva -- or rather flying -- to Cyprus with a comprehensive settlement in our hands," Eides told reporters. "But we will go home with a sense that it is coming."

___

Hadjicostis reported from Nicosia, Cyprus. Raf Casert contributed from Brussels, Belgium.

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