A potentially decisive moment is approaching in the Cyprus settlement talks that started in September 2008. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, is to visit the divided island on Sunday and stay there until Tuesday. He does not, of course, have the authority to impose a settlement or even seriously to bang heads together. But what he can do is impress on the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders that the world is watching them and that a great deal hangs on the outcome of their negotiations.
A sense of urgency hangs over the talks because presidential elections will be held in Turkish Cypriot-controlled northern Cyprus on April 18. Mehmet Ali Talat, the leftist president who helped revive the effort at reaching a comprehensive settlement more than 16 months ago, looks vulnerable to the challenge of Dervis Eroglu, the nationalist prime minister. Read more