The efforts to find a lasting solution to the Cyprus conflict have failed once again. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in Geneva on Thursday that there was not enough agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides to start formal negotiations. The Mediterranean island was divided nearly 50 years ago. “I’m not giving up,” Guterres said. He will now hold a new round of informal talks.
Guterres admitted that the positions of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot sides are so far apart that it is not possible even to initiate formal negotiations. The Mediterranean island was divided nearly 50 years ago. All previous efforts to overcome the split have failed, most recently in 2017 in Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Guterres said that after many years of fruitless negotiations, the only solution the Turkish Cypriot side saw was the only solution being the final division of the island into two states. On the other hand, the Greek Cypriot side wants to continue negotiating a union with two states. Overcoming division is also the goal of previous UN resolutions.
Guterres said he will hold a new round of informal talks in two to three months, again with representatives from Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Cyprus was a British colony until 1960. Guterres remained optimistic: “Squaring a circle is impossible in engineering, but very common in politics,” he said.
The President of the Republic of Cyprus, Nikos Anastasiades, has said that there can be no two-state solution. The proposal falls outside all UN resolutions. The Greek Cypriots are still ready to negotiate on the basis of United Nations resolutions providing for a federation of two states. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in a press conference with Northern Cyprus President Ersin Tatar that Ankara will continue to support the two-state solution. During the talks in Geneva, Anastasiades criticized its inability to present a new vision.
Since the Greek coup and the Turkish military intervention in 1974, Cyprus has been divided into a larger part of Greek Cypriots in the south and a smaller part of Turkish Cypriots in the north. Northern Cyprus is recognized as a country only by Turkey, which also has forces stationed on the island. The European Union approved the entire membership of Cyprus in 2004. However, as long as there is no solution, EU laws and regulations apply only in the south.