LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) President Ersin Tatar and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades held their first informal meeting Tuesday.
The face-to-face meeting took place at the residence of the special representative and head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Elizabeth Spehar, in the buffer zone in Nicosia and lasted about two hours, according to the Presidency of the TRNC.
The spokesperson of the UN in Cyprus said in a statement that Tatar and Anastasiades had the opportunity to get to know each other and exchange views for the first time informally at the meeting hosted by Spehar in a sincere atmosphere.
The two emphasized their determination to respond positively to the commitment of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to hold a 5-party (three guarantor countries and two sides in Cyprus) + UN unofficial meeting in an appropriate environment.
“At this stage for the Turkish people of Cyprus, an understanding on a federal basis that has been maintained since 1977 does not give much hope, and therefore it is time to sit at the table with new ideas,” said Tatar.
“Therefore, at a time when Guterres considered it appropriate to take this issue further, it was discussed that at a five-member conference, all these issues could be evaluated and the process could be managed in this way,” he added, reminding that the idea of a five-member conference came from Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Tatar added that in the meeting, the issues of the closed coastline of the abandoned town of Maras in the TRNC, hydrocarbon resources in the Eastern Mediterranean and the unacceptability of the partial lifting by the US of an arms embargo on the Greek Cypriots were discussed.
Pointing out as the TRNC side, they will not try to avoid talking with the Greek administration on improving bilateral relations, Tatar said: “We laid out our position and left the meeting without getting too desperate and without offending anyone.”
“This [Cyprus case] is a joint case. For us, it is very important to act in harmony with Turkey on the main issues,” he added.
Tatar, who was elected as the fifth president of the TRNC with 51.69% of the vote in the second round of elections held on Oct. 18, assumed office on Oct. 23.
*Writing by Burak Dag and Merve Berker
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