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Common ground sought in 5+1 Cyprus talks in Geneva26 April 2021

UN chief to attend meeting to find common ground on permanent solution to Cyprus issue

At a UN-led unofficial Cyprus conference this week in Geneva, a common ground will be sought to negotiate a lasting solution to the decades-old conflict on the island.

The meeting will be held from April 27-29 with guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will also participate in the meetings to determine a "common ground" on which the parties can negotiate in order to find a permanent solution to the Cyprus issue in the near future.

Mutual visits between Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) for the meeting on Cyprus gained speed in recent days. TRNC President Ersin Tatar will meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on Monday.

Tatar and his delegation will hold a meeting for the last time with officials in Ankara ahead of the Geneva talks.

The Turkish Cypriot side will be defending the new vision of two states based on sovereign equality and cooperation during the meeting.

 

Other viewpoints

Greece and the Greek Cypriot side continue to insist that the solution in Cyprus will be achieved through the "federation" model, which has been negotiated for more than half a century and has not yielded any results.

The Greek side argues that the negotiations should continue where they left off during the Crans Montana talks in 2017. The Turkish side emphasizes that this is impossible and that the talks in Geneva will decide on what is to be negotiated from now onwards.

The island's other guarantor, Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, also touched on his country's position regarding the unofficial conference during his visit to Cyprus in February.

Stating that the UN-led conference was an opportunity to benefit both communities and increase regional stability in Cyprus, Raab emphasized that they will play their role as a country in helping resolve the Cyprus issue.

On the other hand, the meeting in Geneva is also important in that it is the first meeting which UN Secretary-General Guterres will attend face-to-face after the COVID-19 outbreak.

Guterres hopes that the parties will come to the meeting in Geneva with "creative" ideas. This call of Guterres is in line with the Turkish side's attitude toward bringing new ideas to the table.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had visited the TRNC on April 16 before the Geneva meetings.

Cavusoglu had noted that there was no point in negotiating the impossible and that it would be a waste of time.

Cavusoglu had previously said that it would be the Greek Cypriot side who would enjoy being recognized and their EU membership during the period that would be wasted, however, he noted that the Turkish Cypriots will continue to have difficulties under restrictions and under embargoes.

 

Longstanding dispute

Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.

The island has been divided since 1964 when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety. In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power. The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded in 1983.

The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the EU in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the European Union.

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