Negotiations on the Cyprus problem can only begin with the recognition of equal international status of Turkish Cypriots, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar told Turkish Cypriot newspaper Bayrak on Friday.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Tatar said he had held several talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in New York, calling the Turkish President’s plea to the international community to stop imposing sanctions on the north “historic.”

“Erdogan’s words had a big impact in New York, as they conveyed the message that the resumption of Cyprus talks can only take place after the recognition of equal international status for Turkish Cypriots,” he said.

“The UN is an institution that respects important universal concepts, such as the self-determination of every people. The unjust embargo imposed on Turkish Cypriots must therefore end.”

Tatar then added that Greek Cypriots are attempting to turn Cyprus into a Greek island and to cut all ties with Turkey.

“We need to pave the way for young people to work on the Cyprus problem. There are two peoples and two separate states on the island. It is a fact and the foundations of future talks must be based on such a fact.”

Tatar finally said that he will convey the same message to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during the scheduled meeting between the two.