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Cyprus Talks Begin, Seeking Elusive Common Ground

Cyprus talks Geneva
The so-called 5+1 informal talks on Cyprus now underway in Geneva. Credit: United Nations

An informal meeting on Cyprus began in Geneva on April 27, with the U.N. chief seeking “common ground” for the resumption of talks to find a lasting solution to the decades-old dispute.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres held separate meetings with the leaders of the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar called his meeting with Guterres “productive,” and said his side conveyed its views on the dispute to the U.N. chief.

“Guterres knows the Cyprus issue well. Now he will discuss the issue with the other side. We will discuss the issue intensively tomorrow and the day after,” Tatar said.

Alessandra Vellucci, U.N. Information Service (UNIS) spokeswoman in Geneva, said that “the informal 5+1 Meeting on Cyprus in Geneva” had begun with a bilateral meeting between Guterres and Tatar.

Those talks were followed by a meeting between Guterres and Nicos Anastasiades, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, at Geneva’s Intercontinental Hotel, not far from the UN’s European headquarters.

After the meeting, it was announced that Anastasiades’ meeting with Guterres was “a very useful one” and that the President had the opportunity to highlight the need to resolve the Cyprus issue within the parameters set by the UNSG himself.

Anastasiades analyzed in detail the vision for the Cyprus issue, stressing that the day after the solution ought to contribute, not only to the prosperity of all Cypriots, but also to security and stability in the region.

The Cypriot President stressed the need for a functioning and effective state within the European Union. He also stressed the need for the solution to create conditions of security in the country in such a way that the perception of the security of one community did not pose a threat to the other community.

Sources recalled that the effort is to bring the Cyprus issue back on the track of negotiations, which is the main goal of the interventions of the President.

The U.N. chief hosted a reception for the heads of delegations later in the evening.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, and U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab are leading the delegations of the guarantor countries.

UN chief is “realistic” on Cyprus talks

The plenary session of the talks is to start on Wednesday.

Ahead of the talks, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for Guterres, had said: “The secretary-general is realistic. This is an issue that he knows well. He has participated in discussions before. So, he is realistic.”

He said Guterres decided to call this “informal meeting” following consultations over the past several months.

“As we have repeatedly said, the purpose of this informal meeting will be to determine whether a common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus issue within a foreseeable horizon,” said the UN spokesman.

Speaking on the 5+1 format, Dujarric said: “It is basically the leaders of the two communities, plus Greece, Turkey, and the U.K. That format is really based on historical precedent.”

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