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Stratfor Intelligence forecasts that though Greek and Turkish Cypriots are getting closer to an agreement on reunifying the island, lingering obstacles will likely delay any deal for at least a year.

It also said the ongoing reunification negotiations will make Cyprus less likely to use its veto power to impede progress in Turkey’s accession talks with the European Union, and that a reunification deal would enable Cyprus to proceed with plans for exploiting offshore natural gas reserves and would make it easier for it to export natural gas to Egypt and Europe.

Stratfor is a geopolitical intelligence firm that provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world by placing global events in a geopolitical framework.

The agency said that even if a Cyprus agreement were reached, Cypriots would have to approve it in a referendum, adding that the main challenge for the current negotiators was to reach an agreement acceptable to the sides, and the two populations.

“At this point, the suggested May [2016] date for a referendum is not realistic,” Stratfor said. Northern and southern Cypriots will continue to negotiate, but reunification is unlikely in 2016.”

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