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Cyprus solution an EU priority foreign minister says (Updated)

Solving the Cyprus problem is a priority for the EU, Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said on Wednesday.

The minister told the Cyprus News Agency that the informal five-party summit on the Cyprus problem is set to take place in the first week of March, possibly in Greentree, New York. The final decisions on the exact date and location of the summit will be taken by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has to take into consideration the conditions caused by the pandemic.

The island’s two communities and the three guarantors – Greece, Turkey, and the UK – agreed to attend an informal meeting under Guterres, to discuss the way forward on the Cyprus problem.

He said that Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom are expected to be represented at the summit at the level of foreign ministers. He added that he is in contact with his British counterpart, Dominic Raab. Christodoulides said Raab might visit Cyprus soon for consultations and preparation for the informal conference.

The EU too might be present at the summit as an observer, through EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, the minister said. He pointed out that Borrell himself, whom he met in Brussels this week, referred to a possible visit to Cyprus before the conference.

“The assessment is that there is a positive situation. We hope that this situation will lead to concrete positive and lasting results,” he said.

“What is certain is that for the EU, and this was clearly conveyed to me, the resolution of the Cyprus issue is a priority,” said Christodoulides said.

Christodoulides said the summit is expected to last three days. “But no one can predict how things will turn out and if the secretary-general will ask the attendees to stay longer,” he added.

In the meantime, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said during an online event organised by Turkish Cypriot organisations in the UK that for a permanent and sustainable peace in Cyprus, the north needed to be internationally recognised.

According to media reports in the north, Tatar reiterated his position for “two sovereign states on the island” which should recognise each other.

Tatar also said that the new negotiations should be based on equal sovereignty while a permanent solution should not be based on the Republic of Cyprus.

“We have been saying on every occasion that we are one of the two peoples on the island and deserve to be accepted as much as the Greek Cypriots,” Tatar reportedly said.

The Greek Cypriot side maintains it will discuss a federal solution based on UN resolutions which is what the two communities’ leaders had agreed on in the past.

 

 

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