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Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots meet around the same table




The informal meeting, held in the 5+1 format, is expected to iron out the divisions over Cyprus (photo: Government of the Republic of Cyprus)
The informal meeting, held in the 5+1 format, is expected to iron out the divisions over Cyprus (photo: Government of the Republic of Cyprus)
CYPRUS. Gathered in Geneva at the Palais des Nations under the aegis of the UN since Tuesday 27 April 2021, Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders are trying to iron out their differences.

Lasting three days, this informal meeting is being held under the 5+1 format and brings together the two presidents of the Mediterranean island (Republic of Cyprus and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus - TRNC) as well as representatives of Turkey (Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs), Greece (Nikos Dendia, Head of Diplomacy) and the United Kingdom (Dominic Raab, Foreign Minister), the former colonial power. The United Nations completing the guest list.

In 2017 in Crans Montana, Switzerland, the UN had already conducted a sixth round of talks that proved unsuccessful.
The resumption of the talks, four years later, remains a positive point at a time of great tension between Athens and Ankara. The resumption of talks four years later is a positive development at a time of great tension between Athens and Ankara, especially since mutual grievances between Greece and Turkey (gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean, sharing of controversial waters, etc.) have continued to multiply over the past few years, affecting the issue.

UN wants bizonal, bicommunal federation

Nevertheless, as Stéphane Dujarric said on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, "UN Secretary-General António Guterres is realistic. This is an issue he knows well, he has been involved in discussions (on Cyprus) before." Chief UN spokesman, he insists that "the objective of this informal meeting will be to determine whether there is common ground for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus issue in the foreseeable future." Stephane Dujarric said Guterres encouraged participants to "use diplomatic language in a sincere and frank manner."

The UN Security Council is considering the creation of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation as a solution to the territorial dispute, offering the two communities full guarantees of political equality. "The future of Cyprus must be that of a reunited and prosperous island, within the European Union, in the interest of all Cypriots and the stability of the region," said a French Foreign Ministry statement on the informal meeting in Geneva.

Independent since 1960, Cyprus is divided since 1975 by a virtual green line 180 km long. On one side is the Republic of Cyprus, a member state of the European Union, and on the other the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. Self-proclaimed in 1983 and heir to the Turkish federated state of Cyprus (born in February 1975), the TRNC is recognized only by Turkey. This part of the island lives under Ankara's financial perfusion and military protection thanks to the presence of 30,000 Turkish soldiers on the ground.

On November 2, 2020, Ersin Tatar and Nico Anastasiades, respectively presidents of the TRNC and the Republic of Cyprus, met in Nicosia under the auspices of the UN. This simple contact, however, allowed the current informal meeting to take place in Geneva. The communiqué of the institution published at the time stated that the two leaders "expressed their determination to respond positively to the commitment of the Secretary General of the United Nations to explore the possibility of organizing a 5+UN meeting, in a propitious climate, at an appropriate time. Duly noted!

Read also our investigation on the subject: The partition of Cyprus is becoming more and more complicated

 

Eric Apim


Thursday, April 29th 2021



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