Diplomats had been trying to make headway to end a decades-old conflict between rival Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which destabilizes the eastern Mediterranean and is a key source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.
"The truth is that at the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations," U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a news conference in Geneva.
Cyprus was split in two in a Turkish invasion in 1974 triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. The seeds of division had been sown when a power-sharing administration of Greek and Turkish Cypriots crumbled in violence, just three years after independence from Britain in 1960.
For decades, the United Nations has been attempting to piece Cyprus back together as a two-zone federation - the only thing the two sides have been able to agree on in principle.
However a new Turkish Cypriot leadership now proposes a two-state federation, rejected outright by Greek Cypriots who run a government that nominally represents the whole island, both internationally and in the European Union.
Guterres said the United Nations would make a fresh attempt in "probably two or three months."