UN envoy: Cyprus bailout first, peace talks later

Associated Press

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) -- A United Nations envoy says a bid to restart stalled talks to reunify ethnically divided Cyprus will happen after the country wraps up negotiations with its prospective international creditors for a rescue loan it needs to prevent going bankrupt.

Alexander Downer said after talks with new Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades Tuesday that bailout talks between Cyprus, the other 16 countries that use the euro and the IMF now take precedence. He said that will give the U.N. plenty of time to prepare for an eventual resumption of reunifications talks.

Cyprus was split into an internationally recognized Greek speaking south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

Cyprus needs up to €17 billion ($22.09 billion) in rescue money.