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BBC News Online looks at the history and issues surrounding the unresolved conflict

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Referendum

The United Nations plan put to a referendum on 24 April 2004 envisaged a federation of two states - one Greek and the other Turkish - with a loose central government, on the Swiss model with a symbolic, alternating presidency.

It was rejected decisively by the Greek Cypriots but accepted by the Turkish Cypriots.

UN chief Kofi Annan admitted the plan did not meet all the demands of both sides but said it was a historic chance for peace.

Greek Cypriots were unhappy with the number of refugees who would have got their old homes back and that Turkey was being allowed to maintain a military presence on the island indefinitely.

Both the Greek Cypriot president, Tassos Papadopoulos, and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, called on voters to reject the plan. The Greek vote was enough to halt the plan and the island stays split for the forseeable future. EU membership will apply only in the Greek sector.

Greek Cypriot voters rejected reunification at the ballot box

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