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Tatar reiterates need for sovereign equality in Guterres meeting (updated)

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File photo: Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York (Photo: UN)

A meeting between UN Secretary-General and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on Friday finished after an hour, following the latter’s comments that only a state solution can be the solution to the Cyprus problem.

The meeting was held at the UN headquarters in New York, after which Tatar made statements to the press.

During his statements, Tatar said that he emphasised to Guterres that “unfair embargoes” on Turkish Cypriots should be lifted.

Tatar also said that it was not possible for Cyprus talks to start from where they left off in Crans Montana in 2017. He also said that his insisted to Guterres there needs to be sovereign equality for Turkish Cypriots and recognition to start any Cyprus talks.

Asked whether he would accept to attend a joint meeting with Christodoulides and the Guterres’ personal envoy Maria Holguin, Tatar responded that – as he told the UN Secretary General earlier – “unless they accept our sovereign equality and our equal international status, we do not intend to engage in formal negotiations”.

He also said he had a constructive meeting with the UN Secretary General, while claiming that Guterres had confirmed that no common ground had yet been found that would lead to the resumption of the Cyprus talks.

“The three months of talks by the Secretary-General’s personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin, have come to an end. She started on January 5, she has visited us twice in these three months. She will come again in May. She is a very determined lady who is exploring so far whether there is common ground or not. So far, as you all know – and the Secretary-General has confirmed this – there is still no indication that there is going to be common ground. So we will see how she can continue until she completes her mission, until the six months are up. Obviously we are in full cooperation with the UN Secretary General’s personal envoy,” Tatar said.

He said that on July 20, 2024 they will celebrate the anniversary of the ‘Turkish peacekeeping operation in Cyprus’, as he referred to the Turkish invasion, and expressed the hope that the international community “will wake up” and see “the reality” that there are “two peoples, two democratic states, two authorities” in Cyprus and that for there to be a permanent solution, this should be done through the cooperation of “the two existing states in Cyprus”.

Asked if during the meeting the UN Secretary General presented him with any new ideas, Tatar said he conveyed his views to the head of the international organisation, adding that some discussions had been held on how the envoy could continue her mission. “We will see when Ms Holguin comes back, what she will tell us, what she will propose regarding her mission, we will see when she visits us in May,” he said.

Earlier, Tatar made further statements to the press earlier to Anadolu agency, saying provocatively that “the rules of the game in Cyprus must be changed”.

Asked about some ideas Guterres had presented to President Nikos Christodoulides, which the president had accepted, Tatar said “we will see” avoiding giving a clear answer, if he accepts them.

He added that they will see about the ideas, Guterres’ personal envoy Maria Holguin returns to Cyprus in May.

Earlier, Christodoulides said: “Mr Tatar’s statements do not help to create the desired climate.”

Christodoulides added that he will not follow Tatar’s tactics and reiterated that the talks will not be resumed through public statements.

“I believe in the Secretary General, I know what he has in mind, let us wait to see the results of this meeting and then we will comment. What I can express is the wish, the hope that something positive will emerge towards the resumption of talks,” he said.

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