The resumption of Cyprus talks can only begin with confirmation of the Turkish Cypriot policy based on sovereign equality and equal international status, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar repeated on Sunday on his return from New York.

Tatar had been to the US for a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which he described as positive.

“From our perspective, it was a positive meeting. There is a perception that a process is beginning due to the efforts of the UN Secretary-general’s personal envoy Maria Angela Holguin.

“However, we made it clear that a new process can only begin with the confirmation of our policy based on sovereign equality and equal international status.

If an agreement is to be reached regarding the Cyprus problem, it can be done with the cooperation of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. We said tht there will not be an agreement that makes us ‘a patch’ in the Republic of Cyprus,” Tatar said, adding that “the TRNC must be an independent state.

“We insist on this and we will not step back,” Tatar said.

During the meeting, however, he made it clear that, so far, Holguin’s efforts have found that there is “no common ground” with the Greek Cypriot side.

“If there is to be an agreement in Cyprus, it must be accepted by both sides. If they believe they will pressure us and force us to go to the negotiating table at a time when embargoes and isolations continue, they are wrong, we will not accept that.

“We are following a new policy, which we explained three years ago in Geneva. No one should expect us to enter a negotiating process without meeting our expectations,” he stressed.

Tatar then said that Guterres respected the position of the Turkish Cypriot side, recognising that no process can start by force.

“The rules and the general mentality that prevents Turkish Cypriots from satisfying their requests for direct trade, direct flights, and meetings with various global institutions must end,” he said.

“In a period when democracy and human rights gain value, this practice against Turkish Cypriots is a great injustice.”

Tatar also mentioned to Guterres that the road that is being built near Pyla violates UN rules.

“We reminded the UN Secretary-General that, at the moment, construction works are being carried out in the buffer zone, with the indirect permission of the United Nations. It’s a double standard and action must be taken on this matter,” he said.

During his trip to the US, Tatar also met the deputy UN Secretary-General responsible for political affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, as well as the UN Permanent Representatives of France, the UK and Russia.