U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travels to Cyprus on Sunday in a bid to re-energize slow-moving talks aimed at reunifying the ethnically split island.
Ban's first-ever visit to Cyprus is seen as a personal show of support to talks between the island's Greek Cypriot President Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat.
Christofias and Talat have achieved only marginal progress in 17 months of open-ended negotiations. But Ban is expected to announce that the two leaders have achieved significant progress on the key issue of power-sharing under an envisioned federal model during stepped-up talks this month.
Cyprus was divided into an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a brief coup by supporters of union with Greece. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is recognized only by Turkey which maintains 35,000 troops there.
Ban's trip also aims to dispel widespread public gloom on both sides of the divide that the two leaders can successfully end the long-standing dispute impeding Turkey's bid to join the European Union and harming EU-NATO cooperation.
Wide differences remain between the sides on issues including arrangements on property lost during the war, extending Turkey's military intervention rights and territorial adjustments.