Cyprus rivals agree on intensive November talks

Nicosia (AFP) - Rival Cypriot leaders agreed Friday to hold at least six meetings in November as they intensify UN-brokered peace talks aimed at reunifying their island, UN envoy Espen Barth Eide said.

Next month's phase will form part of "a continuous meeting, in which assessments of achievements made or obstacles remaining will only be made towards the end," he told reporters after four hours of talks between Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades and his Turkish Cypriot counterpart Mustafa Ak?nc?.

The encounter was their 10th formal session of negotiations since the current peace process was launched in May.

"The leaders have agreed to meet at least six times during the coming month ...This intense phase will start on Monday, November 2," with other meetings scheduled on November 5, 18, 20, 23 and 25, said the UN envoy.

For Cyprus talks to move beyond where they have failed for the past four decades, hard decisions must be taken on thorny issues such as territorial adjustments, power sharing and property rights.

"We decided to intensify talks... That does not mean that in November you should expect us to conclude negotiations so as to arrive at a solution," Anastasiades told reporters.

Both leaders know that without a solid compromise on property and territory a solution will be hard to sell to their respective communities.

And any peace accord must be ratified by Cypriots at the ballot box.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece.

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