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The United Nations may need to offer more help to the Cyprus peace process if it is to succeed, Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Talat, engaged in peace talks with Greek Cypriot leader Demetris Christofias since last September, appeared cautiously optimistic of progress in a newspaper interview.

"We have some problematic issues, where there are still some differences between us. Generally though there is some concurrence and this allows us some hope for the success of negotiations," Talat told the Greek Cypriot Politis daily.

The dispute over Cyprus, split since a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup, harms Turkish aspirations of joining the EU and is a source of tension between Turkey and Greece.

Both sides agree to reuniting Cyprus as a federation. But there is disagreement on how power will be shared and property disputes as a result of internal displacement of about a third of the island's population.

"We are not seeking strict deadlines, but sometimes a time frame could be useful," Talat said, referring to the talks.

Arbitration, a process which in the past allowed the United Nations to make their own proposals to bridge any differences, should be an option to consider, Talat said.

"I believe we should accept help from the international community, and specifically the United Nations," Talat said, adding they could arbitrate on issues the sides could not agree on.

Greek Cypriots reject arbitration, used by the United Nations in 2004 to draft a reunification blueprint which failed in a referendum.

Financial Mirror, January 08, 2009|||Cyprus talks need more UN involvement-Talat
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