LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
The Turkish Cypriot president on Sunday met with the UN special envoy on the Cyprus dispute ahead of a conference on the long-divided island later this month.
Ersin Tatar received Jane Holl Lute at the presidency.
Speaking to reporters following their meeting, Tatar said: “What we want for the Turkish Cypriot people is to maintain their existence on the basis of equality, to protect existence under the roof of the TRNC, our security, our welfare, and our peace.”
The meeting came ahead of an informal 5+1 meeting on Cyprus, which is planned to be held in Geneva on April 27-29 under the auspices of the UN.
Tatar noted that Lute had been making efforts for a long time to have an informal conference and that it will be the first meeting that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend since the start of coronavirus.
“The Turkish Cypriot people always want an agreement on Cyprus on the basis of equality,” Tatar said.
Noting that federation-based negotiations have been held on Cyprus for 50-years, Tatar said: “Now there can only be a sustainable agreement with the establishment of a state-to-state relationship.”
“We expressed to them [Lute and her team] that it would not be easy to maintain a structure under the roof of a single sovereignty, which had been tried a lot before, and that no result could be reached, as in the Annan Plan and Crans Montana,” he added.
Highlighting that he defends his “views loud and clear,” Tatar said: “The other side may say different things, but neither Cyprus is the old Cyprus nor the Eastern Mediterranean is the old Eastern Mediterranean.”
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Turkey’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.
In 2004, the plan of then-UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for a solution was accepted by the Turkish Cypriots but rejected by the Greek Cypriots in twin referendums.
The 2017 Crans-Montana Conference in Switzerland held with the participation of the guarantor countries — Turkey, Greece, and the UK — ended in failure.
The informal 5+1 meeting on the Cyprus issue, which will be held in Geneva, Switzerland on 27-29 April 2021, will seek to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon. It will be attended by two parties on the island, the three guarantor countries of Turkey, Greece and the UK, and the UN.
While Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration support a federation on Cyprus, Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) insist on a two-state solution reflecting the realities on the island.
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