President Nicos Anastasiades said Thursday he would participate in an informal meeting with the political will to find common ground with the Turkish Cypriots that would lead to substantive negotiations to resolve the island’s division
In a written statement, Anastasiades welcomed the UN announcement convening the meeting on April 27-29 aimed at finding common ground to restart stalled reunification talks.
The informal meeting that includes the divided communities, the three guarantor powers – Greece, Turkey, and the UK – and the UN, is scheduled to take place in Geneva.
“I’m reiterating my strong determination to participate in the informal meeting on Cyprus, with full political will, to create the conditions for the resumption of talks to achieve a functional and viable solution of the Cyprus problem to benefit the two communities.”
The solution, he added, should be based on high-level agreements, UN resolutions, and the principles and values of the EU.
A solution “which will lead to the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into a functional and viable, bicommunal, bizonal federation.”
Turkish Cypriots said Thursday a potential resumption of reunification talks would not pick up where the sides left them in 2017 in Switzerland.
“The aim of the five plus one meeting is to find out whether common ground to be negotiated between the parties exists,” ‘foreign minister’ Tahsin Ertugruloglu told Anadolu Agency in an interview.
“Five plus one should not and will not be a continuation of the process that collapsed in 2017, in Crans-Montana,” he added, referring to the last round of failed talks.
Ertugruloglu said the Turkish side did not accept the participation of an EU official.
He said determining whether there is a common purpose or not may need more than one meeting.
However, spreading the meetings over a long period would not be ideal, he added.
Ertugruloglu said Turkish Cypriots will be attending the meeting with good intentions and future opportunities will emerge if the Greek Cypriot side responded the same way.
“The Turkish Cypriot people’s only choice in the world is not to be partners with the Greek Cypriots,” he said. “We were partners in the past, we saw what happened to us and continues to happen. We move knowing we have other options beyond a new agreement with Greek Cypriots. No one must view us as a people that is the prisoner of the Greek Cypriots.”
The UN announced the meeting on Wednesday following consultations with the five parties.
“The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” the UN said in a written statement.