Cyprus says common ground for peace negotiations depends on Turkish side

Cyprus said on Friday that any prospects for finding common ground for peace negotiations to resolve the Cyprus issue depend on the Turkish side, after a meeting convened by the UN Secretary-General in Geneva failed to bridge disagreements.

The Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities had been engaged in peace negotiations for several decades on the principles set down by the UN Security Council for a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation.

However, Ersin Tatar, the leader of the Turkish Cypriots, put forth officially for the first time at the UN-chaired conference the new line for a two-state solution.

Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades insisted on continuing negotiations in line with UN resolutions providing for a federal state. This position, according to Cyprus’ government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos, was supported by the five permanent UN Security Council members and the European Union (EU).

UN chief Antonio Guterres said at the end of the three-day Geneva conference that “at the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations,” and announced that he will convene another conference in the near future.

Koushos said that the positions of the Turkish side cannot offer a solution that will be in line with the principles and values of the EU and cannot form the basis for negotiations.

He added that the UN Secretary-General had made it clear that he acts on a mandate set down by UN Security Council resolutions as to the basis of the negotiations and he cannot act outside the framework laid down by these resolutions.

Tatar said after the conference that he will never change his stance for a two separate and equally sovereign Cypriot states, as “there is no point in sitting at the table with the former conditions and starting formal talks without the recognition of a sovereignty based on equality.”