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Tatar says Guterres needs to keep an equal distance between the two sides

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It is a prerequisite of the impartiality of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to keep equal distance, the Turkish Cypriot ‘presidency’ said on Friday, following criticism by the Greek Cypriot side over the equidistant approach in the diplomat’s latest reports.

In a statement referring to the reports submitted to the Security Council on Monday concerning the developments in the Cyprus issue between June 19, 2021 and December 15, 2021, the Turkish Cypriot ‘presidency’ said the goal of leader Ersin Tatar was to find a viable solution.

“The unjust and unsustainable status quo created by the occupation, by the Greek Cypriot side, of the partnership in 1963” did not make it possible to reach a solution based on equality, it said.

Therefore, negotiations failed since 1968 and eventually collapsed in 2017, the announcement added.

It added that the Turkish Cypriot side was ready to negotiate a solution that provides for institutional cooperation on the basis of sovereign equality and an equal international regime.

In his reports, one on Unficyp and one on his Good Offices mission, Guterres had cited the negative rhetoric of both sides, warning that without decisive action, the continuing dynamics in and around Cyprus could render future efforts unattainable.

Earlier this week, the government had said that equalisation of the sides “does not discourage” Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots but on the contrary may create the perception that the positions of the other side are being tolerated by the Secretary-General.

Referring to references by Guterres that the deepening inequality between the two economies might alienate the two sides further, the Turkish Cypriot ‘presidency’ said it that one of the main causes “is the inhuman and outdated isolation and restrictions on the Turkish Cypriot people, which are also mentioned in the relevant UN reports”.

In contrast with the Secretary-General’s report, the ‘presidency’ added that the Turkish Cypriot side does not believe that the opening of the fenced-off area of Varosha goes against the relevant UN resolutions.

According to the government spokesman Marios Pelekanos, the UNSG expressed “his deep concern over the actions of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot community in the fenced-off area of Famagusta, and asks that tensions be avoided both on land and at sea.” Guterres said these had contributed to deepening mistrust, both between the sides and among the two communities.

Concerning the report’s remarks on natural resources, the ‘presidency’ said the recipient of these calls is the Greek Cypriot side, which is responsible for the tension, as it states, with Greece as its supporter.

The announcement also criticised as an ‘unfortunate step backwards’ Guterres’ references to Cypriot democracy and Cypriot government, saying that these institutions “are occupied by the Greek Cypriot side [and] do not represent the Turkish Cypriot people and the whole of Cyprus”.

It also added that the Secretary-General did not include in his last two reports the fact that the peace process in Cyprus is “sui generis” and that Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have equal rights, which is included in the report on his Good Offices.

The Turkish Cypriot leadership added that it will issue its detailed views on the reports will be communicated to the UN Secretary-General.

Guterres’ reports will be discussed at the UN Security Council on January 17.

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