UN's downer hopeful for Cyprus deal by years's-end
Special UN Cyprus Envoy Alexander Downer on Tuesday expressed hope that a deal on the divided island could be brokered by the end of the year, healing a decades-old conflict threatening Turkey's bid to join the European Union. Downer added that he is convinced leaders of the island's Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities want a deal, but both sides must compromise. "It would be good to get the bulk of the work done by the end of the year," Downer told Reuters in an interview. "Just in terms of the negotiations they can do it, whether they will I don't know. But they can do it." Downer said good progress has been made on governance and power-sharing, and now discussions are focused on property. The UN is planning to prepare a report offering a "frank assessment" of where talks stand next month.