U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots failed to make headway in informal talks on the future of their divided island nation, but talks will continue and “I do not give up.” The new Turkish Cypriote government and Ankara had already agreed on a two-state solution on the island, which EU and UN will reject. Turkish press is airing news on the UK government contemplating recognition of the renegade Turkish Republic of northern Cyprus to expedite a solution to the 56 year old conflict. In the absence of such a breakthrough, reunification talks are likely to last through the 21st Century.
An exercise in utter futility
The United Nations chief invested his political capital in overseeing three days of talks in Geneva aimed at re-igniting dormant negotiations to reunify Cyprus. But Turkish Cypriots in the island’s breakaway north insist on a deal based on two separate states, which Greek Cypriots reject as formalizing partition. Guterres is likely to meet the fate of his famed predecessor Mr Kofi Annan, whose peace plan was rejected by a referendum on the Greek side of the divided island, as Turkish Cypriotes approved it.
As a reward for the intransigence, the Greek Cypriote Administration was welcomed into EU as the sovereign of the whole island, while the Turkish minority were relegated to the status of shadow people who exist without a national identity or any contact with the rest of the world.
The talks were headed by Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades. The gathering was also attended by the foreign ministers of Cyprus’ three “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and former colonial power Britain. It is the latest attempt by the U.N. to revitalize the peace process since another round of negotiations collapsed in 2017.
Guterres said a new round of informal talks are planned, possibly in the next two to three months.
“The truth is that in the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem,” Guterres said. “But I do not give up.”
He summarized the two sides’ positions: The Turkish Cypriots believe that decades of efforts to ensure a “bi-zonal, bicommunal federation” have been exhausted and they now deserve “equal international status” like that enjoyed by the Nicosia government run by Greek Cypriots in the south.
The Greek Cypriots held to their position for a federation “with political equality on the basis of relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions,” Guterres said.
“As you can imagine, this was not an easy meeting,” he said. “To square the circle is an impossibility in geometry, but it is very common in politics.”
Guterres said he would report to the Security Council on the different positions taken in the meeting.
With their status of the sole sovereign of the island recognized and possessing the right to veto any pro-Turkish decision in EU Council, thanks to the supporting Greece vote, Greek Cypriotes have no desire or incentive to compromise.
Turkish Cypriotes encouraged by news of Boris Johnson contemplating recognition
President Ersin Tatar urged the UK government to get behind his proposal for a two-state solution for the Cyprus dispute.
Tatar said that “after Brexit freed Britain from the EU it can now fulfil its role as a neutral guarantor for the eastern Mediterranean island, ensuring that both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots are treated in a balanced way.”
According to British news sources, UK ministers are considering to officially recognize the TRNC as an “independent country”.
It is also noted in news sources that the recognition of TRNC by the UK would help around 300,000 Turkish Cypriots living in the UK to get direct flights to their country.
Turkish expert stressed that the high officials of the UK could take into consideration the recognition of the independence of TRNC, but he added that the UK tries to keep his neutral position in the Cyprus issue.
“The United Kingdom, which is always in search of a middle way between the Greek side and the Turkish side, will act by thinking about this plan. According to the Daily Express, one of the major media outlets in the UK, the government will discuss the sovereignty of TRNC.
While Turkish press kept the story on headlines, there has been no official announcement from Westminster confirming or denying the story.
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