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U.N. says Cyprus mediator quits to pursue political career in Norway

Reuters

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Cyprus mediator Espen Barth Eide has quit to pursue a political career in Norway, the United Nations said on Monday, after U.N.- backed talks to broker peace between Greek and Turkish Cypriots ended in acrimony last month.

"Over the last 27 months, with steadfast dedication, commitment and creativity, Mr. Eide helped the two leaders make unprecedented progress towards reaching a viable and sustainable solution to the decades old dispute," U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said in a statement. 

Haq said Eide planned to run in the upcoming legislative elections in Norway.

The latest of many attempts to broker an accord on Cyprus ended on July 7 after 10 days of negotiations at a Swiss Alpine resort attended by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides along with Britain, Greece and Turkey.

Cyprus was split after a Turkish invasion that was triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup in 1974. The seeds of division were sown years earlier after a power-sharing arrangement between Greek and Turkish Cypriots crumbled as a constitutional deadlock led to violence. 

A settlement to the long-simmering conflict has been given sharper focus by the prospect of sizeable deposits of natural gas in the eastern Mediterranean. 

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Sandra Maler)