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The EU will ‘never, ever’ accept a two-state solution in Cyprus

buffer zone in nicosia
epa02120147 UN soldiers open a gate leading to the green line separating the divided Cypriot capital of Nicosia on 16 April 2010. Cyprus has been divided since 1974. Turkish Cyprus will go to the polls on 18 April 2010. EPA/KATIA CHRISTODOULOU

The European Union will “never, ever” accept a two-state deal in Cyprus, the head of its executive said on Thursday.

Ursula von der Leyen, who was visiting Cyprus, said the European Union spoke with one voice on the conflict, which has dragged on for decades and is a key hurdle in Turkey’s ambitions of joining the bloc.

“I want to repeat that we will never, ever accept a two-state solution. We are firm on that and very united,” von der Leyen told a news conference.

The present stalemate is steeped in disagreements of the form unification could take – a union of two independent states advocated by a new Turkish Cypriot leadership, or as a loose federation advocated by the Greek Cypriot side.

Talks in Geneva earlier this year on the matter ended inconclusively.

Disagreement has also focused on competing claims over offshore energy reserves, a dispute connected to quarrels between Turkey and Greece, a key ally of the Greek Cypriots.

“Our neighbours have (an) interest in good bilateral relations. If this is the case, and we also have an interest in good bilateral relations, I want our neighbours to know that if they speak to one of our member states, like for example Cyprus, in whatever tone, they speak to the European Union,” von der Leyen said.

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