- UNSG: “Not yet enough common ground for the resumption of negotiations”
- Another informal meeting will be held in 2-3 months
- President Anastasiades wants to resume negotiations towards a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, as defined by UN resolutions, and with a single sovereignty, citizenship and international personality
- Turkish Cypriot leader wants “two states cooperating with each other”
- UNSG recalled that his mandate from the UNSC is for a federal solution
- UK-Cypriots disappointed that Turkish FM and Turkish Cypriot leader advocating partition
The UN Secretary General convened an informal meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva between 27-29 April. The purpose was “to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon”. The informal talks were attended by the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades; the Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar; the Foreign Secretary of the UK, Dominic Raab; the Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias; and the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The meeting consisted of a series of bilateral and plenary sessions exploring the positions of all the delegations on the Cyprus issue. Most of the crucial discussions took place on Wednesday 28 April and continued long into the evening.
During his closing press conference on Thursday 29th April the UN Secretary General in noting that, “not yet enough common ground for the resumption of negotiations” confirmed that the participants had all agreed to convene another informal 5+UN meeting soon, likely in 2-3 months.
During his closing press conference on Thursday, the UN Secretary General outlined the positions of both the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot delegations:
- The Greek Cypriot position is to resume negotiations “to achieve a settlement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality on the basis of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Joint Declaration of 2014, the existing body of work, the six elements I presented in Crans Montana, and in line with the EU acquis”
- The Turkish Cypriot position is that, “efforts to negotiate a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation have been exhausted” and that “the solution in their view should be based on two states cooperating with each other”
The UN Secretary General said that he would not give up on efforts to reach a solution to the Cyprus issue. He said that he will “fight for the security and wellbeing of Cypriots… who deserve to live in peace and prosperity together.”
It’s important to underline that the UN Secretary General also recalled that his mandate comes from the UN Security Council. The Security Council has a clear position that a solution to the Cyprus issue must be based on, “A State of Cyprus with a single sovereignty and international personality and a single citizenship, with its independence and territorial integrity safeguarded, and comprising two politically equal communities as described in the relevant Security Council resolutions, in a bi-communal and bi-zonal federation”. [UNSC 1251 (1999)]
After the conclusion of the conference, President Anastasiades expressed his “disappointment” at the stance of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot delegation. However, he repeated his determination to achieve the reunification of Cyprus as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation ensuring that Cyprus is a “functional and normal state”.
President Anastasiades acknowledged the clear position taken by the UN Secretary General during the talks. He also thanked Foreign Secretary Raab for his interventions in support of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the reunification of the island, as well as for reaffirming the UK’s commitment to achieving a “fair and lasting resolution to the Cyprus issue”.
As the representative voice for the UK Cypriot diaspora, we are extremely disappointed that Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader, instead of engaging constructively to find a solution within existing parameters, chose to advocate for a solution that is not in line with UNSC resolutions or international law. Moreover it is worth noting that is not what a majority of Cypriots want, as indicated by polling on the island, recent demonstrations by Turkish Cypriots, and our recent joint statement with groups in the UK.