The rival leaders of ethnically-divided Cyprus will hold new talks in Geneva this month, in a significant step forward that could see the final round of negotiations on a peace agreement to reunify the island.
United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres invited Greek Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to a working dinner at the world body's New York headquarters last night, seeking to break an impasse over how a summit aiming for a reunification deal should proceed.
Mr Anastasiades insisted on first dealing with the issue of the withdrawal of Turkish troops that Greek Cypriots consider a threat.
More than 35,000 soldiers remain in the breakaway Turkish Cypriot north after Turkey's 1974 invasion that followed a coup by supporters of union with Greece.
Mr Akinci insisted he wanted no pre-conditions.
Mr Guterres said both leaders agreed that the issue of security is "of vital importance" and would be given a high priority.