Cyprus and Greece have said they will attend a five-party conference called by the United Nations in Geneva in late April.
President Nicos Anastasiades said he would participate at the UN-hosted informal meeting on 27-29 April with the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots with “full political will” to get dormant peace talks restarted.
Anastasiades expressed in a statement his “strong determination” to try and find common ground with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar when they meet in Geneva, Switzerland.
“I reiterate my strong determination to participate in the informal conference on Cyprus, with full political will, so that conditions will be generated for the resumption of the talks to achieve a functional and viable solution to the Cyprus problem for the benefit of both communities,” said Anastasiades.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host the informal meeting that will also be attended by the foreign ministers of Cyprus’ guarantor powers — Greece, Turkey, and Britain.
The last attempt at putting together a reunification deal over several days at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana in the summer of 2017 collapsed amid acrimony.
April’s meeting is overshadowed by Turkey’s perceived shift from the long-established aim of forging a federation of Greek- and Turkish-speaking zones to an agreement between two equal, sovereign states.
This month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out discussing a federal system to reunify Cyprus, insisting that a two-state accord is the only solution. Tatar has echoed Erdogan.
Anastasiades instead proposes a “decentralized federation” under which the Greek- and Turkish-speaking zones would be granted more authority to run their own affairs.
Moreover, the UN is mandated to reach a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution for Cyprus.
In a statement, the Greek Foreign Ministry welcomed the UN Secretary-General’s announcement for the convening of an informal five-party meeting on the Cyprus issue.
“The goal of this summit is finding common ground that could lead to substantial negotiations for a solution to the Cyprus problem,” the statement said.
Such a solution, it adds, “must be based on UN Security Council’s Resolutions, it must be compatible with European law, and it must lead to a functional and viable bizonal bicommunal federation.”
“Greece, in its capacity as a guarantor power, will participate in the informal meeting in Geneva, being willing to constructively contribute in the effort to achieve the goals of the informal summit.”
UN Secretary General`s Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said the UN was not in the business of giving ultimatums when asked about the upcoming informal meeting on Cyprus.
“If you look at the even flow of our efforts on Cyprus, there have been ups, there have been flows”.
“Ms Jane Holl Lute has been consulting with the parties. We think this is an opportune time. It’s an informal meeting, and we very much hope there will be a positive outcome.”