The foreign ministers of Britain, Greece and Turkey met on Thursday to thrash out a security deal for a reunited Cyprus and end a conflict rooted in Britain's colonial past and Greek and Turkish rivalry in the region.
For the first time in decades, the three countries were to discuss a 1960 treaty cited by at least one of them in the past as a basis for intervening in the Mediterranean island.
Greek Cypriots and their ally Greece want an overhaul of the current security setup, while Turkish Cypriots and Turkey say it must be maintained.
"Continuing the security and guarantor arrangements, which have been the basis of security and stability on the island for the last 43 years, is a necessity given the situation in the region," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a conference at the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations.
"We are expecting this issue to be evaluated with an understanding in line with the realities on the island."
Cyprus was split by a Turkish invasion in 1974 that followed a brief coup engineered by the military then ruling Greece. It has remained split ever since, with Turkish Cypriots in the north of the island and Greek Cypriots in the south.
The Geneva conference is being chaired by new U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in his first major involvement in a conflict which has been on the world body's agenda for more than half a century.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker was also in attendance. Cyprus is a member of the European Union, represented by the internationally recognised Greek Cypriot government. Recent hydrocarbon discoveries off Cyprus's shores could help the EU reduce its energy dependence on Russia.