Published On: Sun, May 9th, 2021

UN Secretary-General Hopeful Despite Unresolved Cyprus Talks

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By Janet Ekstract 

ISTANBUL – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met in Geneva last week for the 5+1 talks on Cyprus that despite not reaching any concrete agreement – he emphasized  he won’t give up on reaching mutual consensus. Guterres said talks will continue to work toward an ultimate solution for both the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides. The secretary-general explained that the Turkish-Cypriot government believes that efforts to negotiate the bi-zonal, bi-communal federation are currently at a standstill. He added that the Greek-Cypriot government does believe that Turkish-Cypriots have “inherent sovereign equality” and hold an “equal international status.” The UN leader pointed out that the Greek-Cypriot side maintains the solution should be based on two states cooperation.

Meanwhile, Guterres highlighted that the position expressed by the Greek-Cypriot delegation is that negotiations should resume from where they left off in Crans Montana. The secretary-general reiterated that the two sides should make their goal in achieving a settlement based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality on the basis of relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions, the Joint Declaration of 2014, the existing body of work, the six elements presented in Crans Montana, and in line with the EU Acquis also known as legislation within European law.

The secretary-general also said that extensive consultations in a succession of bilateral meetings and plenary meetings were held in an attempt to reach a consensus between the two sides. Guterres admitted: “The truth is that, in the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common grounds to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations in relation to the settlement of the Cyprus problem.” He added that his main goal is “strictly to fight for the security and well-being of the Cypriots, of the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish-Cypriots, that deserve to live in peace and prosperity together.”

Guterres explained that it was agreed that he will convene another meeting of the 5+1 with the objective of moving toward achieving common goals so that formal negotiations can begin. The secretary-general reiterated his “determination to do everything we can” to move talks forward and to encourage positive dialogue for the best outcome. He added that there will be consulations prior to the next meeting as before and that his intention is to foster conditions for a future successful meeting. In terms of a timeframe for future Cyprus talks, Guterres estimated between two to three months will be enough time to prepare all parties for the next round of talks aiming toward a solution that works for both sides. The secretary-general under the mandate of the UN Security Council is tasked with making sure talks move smoothly and toward achievable goals.

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