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Both leaders confirm willing to attend five-party summit

ΠτΔ – Ειδική Απεσταλμένη του Γενικ

The two leaders on Tuesday conveyed their willingness to participate in an informal five-party summit to discuss the way forward on the Cyprus problem to the UN secretary-general’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute.

President Nicos Anastasiades reiterated his readiness for the resumption of the talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana in 2017.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, however, restated his determination to discuss a two-state solution.

After an around two-hour meeting between Anastasiades and Lute on Tuesday evening at the Presidential Palace, Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushos said the president reiterated the Greek Cypriot side’s positions “on the solution of the Cyprus problem and our readiness to resume the talks from where they left off in Crans-Montana.

“The president informed Lute of his readiness to participate in an informal five-party meeting to be convened by the UN secretary-general within the terms of his mandate, as set out by the UN Security Council,” Koushos said.

This was an indirect reference to the government’s stated rejection of a two-state solution, which is promoted by the new Turkish Cypriot leader and Ankara.

According to Koushos, Lute will continue her contacts with the other parties and brief the UN secretary-general.

Lute, who arrived on Sunday, is on the island for meetings with the two leaders to probe the prospect of an informal five-party summit. She did not make any statements after her separate meetings with the two leaders.

Earlier in the day, she met Tatar in his office in north Nicosia. The meeting lasted around two-and-a-half hours. Present were also former negotiators of the Turkish Cypriot side Ergun Olgun and Osman Ertug.

Tatar said after the meeting he explained to the UN official his position on a two-state solution and that realities on the island have changed, citing failure to reach a federal solution during the past 52 years.

Tatar also said he told Lute that a five-party meeting with the participation of the two communities, guarantors Greece, Turkey and the UK, plus the UN, would give him the opportunity to elaborate on his position.

“It will be important for there to be a negotiation process for two states that, based on sovereign equality, will co-exist side by side and cooperate,” Tatar said, according to reports in the north. He reiterated that the talks should not resume from where they left off in 2017.

He also said that he explained to Lute that the Turkish Cypriots “have the right to live in this country in peace, prosperity and security,” and pointed out that based on the 1960 agreements, they are one of the two parts of these agreements. “The Turkish Cypriot people are one of the two peoples living here and they have sovereign rights stemming from these agreements,” he said.

Tatar added that the other side will not dominate and that the Turkish Cypriots have the right to self-determination and such a climate should be created so that they can use this right. Since 1974, he said, the Turkish side showed goodwill and flexibility in all negotiation processes, as well as during the Annan Plan period and in Crans-Montana in 2017 without finding a response from the other side. “That is why a process on the same basis is not going to work from now on. The Turkish Cypriot people deserve this because they are the real hostage,” he said.

He said that Turkish Cypriots cannot play in international games, citing their isolation and “embargo” economically, politically and in culture. Tatar also brought up the issue of direct flights to the north and called for “more creativity” in opening the community and the Turkish Cypriots to the outside world.

According to Tatar, Lute took meticulous notes during their meeting and asked questions to which she received detailed answers.

He also said the issue of Famagusta was not brought up since this is not part of her mandate, which is to seek fertile ground for a five-party-plus-one meeting.

Tatar said Lute would visit Turkey at a later stage, citing problems with flights due to the pandemic.

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