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Tatar tells Guterres solution efforts ‘at a turning point’

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar

In a letter to UN chief Antonio Guterres, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said he supports an informal five-party meeting to determine whether or not there is common ground between the two sides for a lasting settlement, and blaming the Greek Cypriot side for the absence of a solution.

According to reports from the north, Tatar said in his letter that in the light of new conditions in the region and in Cyprus, his was aiming to establish a relationship of cooperation based on two sovereign states with equal international status.

He claimed that the search for a federal solution had been going on for decades and all the efforts of the UN Secretary-General, their actions and initiatives, “have been thwarted by the Greek Cypriot side”.

In Crans-Montana, he added, despite the flexibility and good intentions of the Turkish Cypriot side and Turkey, “the Greek Cypriot side and Greece prevented the finding of a solution and tried to continue the status quo”. Tatar went on to repeat well-know positions of the Turkish Cypriot side going back to 1963.

Tatar said that for the Turkish Cypriots, there was no question of continuing the process from where it left off in Crans-Montana in 2017.

“A process, based on a new common ground must be result-oriented and, in order to make sense, it must have a timetable,” his letter to Guterres said.

The resolution of the Cyprus issue, on the basis of which it will be determined, would contribute to the restoration of regional security and stability and pave the way for the creation of a vision that will embrace the entire Eastern Mediterranean, he added.

Tatar argued that the most appropriate option for natural gas is trade was through Turkey to Europe with the construction of a submarine pipeline.

He called on Guterres help convince the Greek Cypriot side to approach the issue with “open ideas on a formula for co-operation based on sovereign equality in both countries”.

According to Tatar, solution efforts are at a turning point and in order to reach a final agreement it was “the responsibility of all stakeholders to seize this opportunity and make every effort”.

President Nicos Anastasiades has also sent a letter to Guterres containing suggestions on confidence-building measures aimed at boosting the prospects of a solution, it emerged on Tuesday.

The Greek Cypriot side has reiterated the government’s position that there is no issue of changing the solution framework.

Guterres’ special envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected to return to the island on Sunday for a second round of contacts with the two leaders in a bid to prepare the five-party informal meeting. She had separate meetings with the two leaders at the beginning of December.

Lute is expected to meet Tatar on Monday. There have been no announcements as to when she will be meeting with Anastasiades.

In the meantime, the UN Security Council is expected to hold a meeting to adopt a resolution on the renewal of Unficyp’s mandate for another six months on January 28.

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