A proposal to appoint a Special Envoy to speed up efforts to find common ground was made by the UN secretary general during meetings in Brussels last week, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said, adding the he will evaluate it.
According to Turkish Cypriot media, on his return from Brussels on Saturday night, Tatar said the issue had been discussed with other parties and the Turkish Cypriots would “study it and we will see the result”.
Tatar also said he told UNSG Antonio Guterres that negotiations can start on the acceptance of “our sovereign equality and equal international status, as expressed in the six-point proposal we submitted in Geneva”.
He said Guterres respected his position and in the search for common ground said he wished to appoint a special envoy.
“The Secretary-General will assess whether a 5 + 1 meeting will take place in Geneva after the meetings in New York, where he invited us in September. It is clear to us that there is no question of entering into formal negotiations,” Tatar said.
He said his meeting with Guterres took a little over half an hour and was held in an honest climate.
“Looking at the history of Cyprus, when Britain left, it transferred its sovereignty to two separate peoples. Maybe the whole world still does not understand this. But we say that if they [the Greek Cypriots] have international status, we have the same. At least in terms of equality, we must also have international status,” Tatar said.
He also expressed sorrow over statements made by the European Council, after its meeting in Brussels. “Either they don’t know the realities in Cyprus or they do not want to know them,” he said.
“Because in Cyprus there are already two separate states. There is no question because the EU wants the self-governing Turkish Cypriots to become a part of the Republic of Cyprus, ie the southern state”.
As far as confidence building measures (CBMs) are concerned, Tatar said after discussions with Turkey some decisions can be made to made daily life easier for Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
The important issues that affect the essence of the Cyprus problem, he added, and the issue of “sovereignty of the Turkish Cypriots”, can be discussed not in the context of CBMs but holistically.
At a meeting he had on the hoof with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Tatar said he expressed his opinion for a solution based on two states, to which the former said “I do not accept that”.
Guterres met both Tatar and President Nicos Anastasiades on the sidelines of a special European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday.