Nicosia, Athens reject ‘two-state’ solution

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Nicosia and Athens reiterated their readiness to attend an UN-led five-party conference on Cyprus but made clear they back a federal settlement not the two states solution advocated by Ankara.

President Nicos Anastasiades and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis also said Monday they were in favour of abolishing “anachronistic guarantees” and the withdrawal of Turkish troops from the island.

“While confirming our absolute readiness to attend the informal conference, which the UN Secretary-General intends to convene, our position has been clear first and foremost on the intended form of settlement,” President Anastasiades said.

“We can not deviate from the relevant resolutions and decisions by the UN, the Security Council, as well as from European principles and values.”

He also underlined the need for a conducive atmosphere.

“It is not possible to expect substantial dialogue amid threats or unilateral actions or illegal activities.”

Anastasiades said Turkey could improve the climate for talks if it stopped its aggression toward Cyprus.

“It is not our side who is attacking. We are those who seek peace and stability in the region.”

The Greek Prime Minister said the future of Cyprus was at a “delicate juncture”.

“Both Athens and Nicosia, remain committed to UN decisions,” said Mitsotakis in response to Turkey saying there is a ‘new reality’ on Cyprus.

Mitsotakis pointed to the recent adoption of Security Council resolution 2561, which refers to a bizonal bicommunal federation as the only viable settlement.

“The stance of Turkey and that of the head of the Turkish Cypriots is outside the UN framework – at least if someone listens to the public statements – by asserting the unfounded position for two states.”

He said the two-state solution is rejected by Greece and Cyprus, as well as by the UN and the EU.

“Therefore, Ankara and Mr (Ersin) Tatar need to know that resuming a substantial dialogue is conceivable only within the existing and binding limits,” Mitsotakis said.

Mitsotakis paid a one-day working visit to Nicosia to coordinate action with Cyprus and exchange views ahead of the five-party conference expected in March.

Vaccinations were also among the topics discussed, with Mitsotakis saying that both Greece and Cyprus have the operational capacity to proceed with more inoculations, but are unable to do so because they lack vaccines.

He expressed his certainty the issue will be resolved in the coming months and referred to his proposal for an EU-wide COVID-19 vaccination certificate to help boost tourism.