LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

In a meeting on Monday, Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration continued to press for a federation solution for the island, though it has yielded nothing in a half-century of efforts.

In a joint statement following a meeting in Southern Cyprus, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Greek Cypriot administration leader Nicos Anastasiades reiterated their desire to participate in an informal 5+1 meeting on Cyprus – with the two sides on the island, the guarantor countries, and the UN – but refused to discuss any solution on Cyprus not based a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation.

Mitsotakis underlined Greece’s top priority in Cyprus is finding a functional solution which can be accepted by the two sides of the island, and argued that the Turkish side’s insistence on a two-state solution is rejected by the European Union.

Anastasiades stated that reunification of the island should include the end of the “outdated” guarantor system and the withdrawal of Turkey’s troops from Cyprus, deployed there to protect Turkish Cypriots from ethnic violence.

While Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration support a federation on Cyprus, Turkey and Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) insist on a two-state solution reflecting the realities on the island.

Negotiations based on sovereign equality are needed to resolve the Cyprus issue, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told at a joint news conference last week in the capital Lefkosa with TRNC President Ersin Tatar.

The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation of the island was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.

It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK. The TRNC was founded in 1983.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan in Ankara

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