LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Any resolution on Cyprus must be based on two equal, sovereign states on the island, said the Turkish Cypriot president on Monday.

“If an agreement is to be reached on Cyprus, its basis will be the cooperation of two equal states living side by side, based on sovereign equality,” Ersin Tatar, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), said after meeting with UN Envoy Jane Hall Lute at the Presidential Palace in the capital Lefkosa.

“We discussed with Lute that an agreement could be achieved by ensuring the international equal status of these two states,” he added.

On an unofficial meeting on the issue set for April, he said Lute and he discussed various details, including the type and format of the three-day meeting.

“We discussed the regulations of the UN secretary-general, collective and bilateral meetings, and the details related to them,” he added.

Reiterating that the TRNC will attend the meeting with good will for a fair, lasting, and sustainable agreement, he underlined that they are looking for a different basis than previous meetings seeking a federal arrangement which produced nothing.

Lute “confirmed that it will be in search of whether there is a common ground that can really move forward as a result of all the discussions,” he said.

He also stressed that the Turkish Cypriot people will claim their sovereignty, independence and right to self-rule.

The UN will work to develop this basis for an agreement after the informal meeting in April, he said, adding: “The agreement must be on the basis of our state, sovereignty, and the right to intervene of our motherland Turkey.”

The unofficial 5+1 meeting – including both sides on Cyprus, the three guarantor countries, plus the UN – is set to be held on April 27-29 in Geneva.

Nobody can insist on an imposition on the Turkish Cypriot side with economic promises or other fallacies, added Tatar.

The island has been divided since 1964, when ethnic attacks forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.

In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aiming at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence.

The TRNC was founded in 1983.

The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year that Greek Cypriots thwarted the UN’s Annan Plan to end the decades-long dispute.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin

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