Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar spoke with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by teleconference late Monday, telling him it was a reality that there were two equal and separate sides on the island “which could not be undone”.
“Equal status on both sides is an acceptable historical reality in Cyprus,” Tatar told Guterres, according to a written statement from the Turkish Cypriot leader’s spokesperson on Tuesday, who said the conversation lasted around half an hour “in a constructive and honest atmosphere”.
Tatar told Guterres “the two states on the island within their borders have been working for almost half a century to maintain public order and improve the quality of life of their peoples,” according to the statement from the north. “In the light of reality this cannot be undone,” it added.
Any possible agreement in Cyprus should be based on the existing two states and sovereign equality, the UN chief was told.
Negotiations on the basis of a federal solution, which began in Beirut in 1968, and have been going on for more than half a century, have failed because of the uncompromising stance of the Greek Cypriots who refuse to share power with the Turkish Cypriots, the statement added.
During this period, the Turkish Cypriots “were trapped in inhumane isolation and this can no longer continue,” Tatar told Guterres, according to the statement.
There was a need for a new basis for negotiations due to the new realities on the ground and the “unchanging mentality of the Greek Cypriot side”.
“A just, realistic and sustainable compromise must be based on sovereign equality and the cooperation of two states with equal international status,” Tatar said.
According to the spokesperson, Guterres reportedly told Tatar that he knew the Turkish Cypriot side’s position.
He also said this position would be discussed during the expected informal 5 + 1 meeting with all sides in March and he reportedly expressed the expectation that the parties would reach an agreement on common ground that would allow formal negotiations.
Guterres also reportedly said he would like the 5 + 1 meeting to take place in New York, but the place and time depended on the US government and the situation regarding Covid 19.
The holding of the summit was discussed after UN Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute was in Cyprus recently to convey Guterres’ decision to convene the meeting.
President Nicos Anastasiades invited the members of the National Council to escort him to the informal five-party meeting. There has been no announcement on the Greek Cypriot side about a teleconference between Guterres and the president as yet.