PERCHED on a hilltop a few miles from the sea, the Christian Maronite village of Kormakitis, in Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, is running out of time. In 1974, when Turkish troops invaded the island following a Greek Cypriot coup, the town was home to some 2,000 people. Today about 110 pensioners remain. They spend their time at the café joking in the indigenous dialect, a blend of Arabic, Aramaic and Greek. Their children, who have moved to the richer Greek part of the island, visit on holidays. A Lebanese priest leads prayers at the newly restored church. Every fortnight a UN convoy arrives from Nicosia, the capital, carrying supplies.

“There is no work here, no school and no room for investment,” says Napoleon Terzis, who worked in the Greek south as an air-traffic controller before returning to retire. Without jobs, he says, the town, its language and its people, who moved here from Lebanon in the 12th century, all face extinction. Mr Terzis and his friends place their hope in a united Cyprus.

Analysts agree. The Eurasia Group, a consultancy, estimates the likelihood of a settlement at 60% by the end of 2016. A parliamentary vote in the south, scheduled for May, and a government crisis in the north may delay the talks, but will not scupper them.

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