France against two states in Cyprus

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A two-state model for Cyprus is not a real solution; Paris endorses UN resolutions providing a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, new French Ambassador Salina Grenet-Catalano said.

In an interview with the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Grenet-Catalano said France wanted a reunified island inside the EU where there is no place for partition.

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots argue that a two-state solution for Cyprus is the new reality after decades of failed diplomacy.

“We would like to have a reunited Cyprus within the European Union, and we think that federation is probably the best way, if not the only way, to do so.”

Moreover, she encouraged the parties to show flexibility to allow the resumption of negotiations.

An informal UN-led 5+1 meeting on Cyprus will occur on 27 April in Geneva to see if there are grounds to resume stalled peace talks.

“We are willing to help, and that is what President Macron reaffirmed to President Anastasiades recently during a phone call.

“We are willing to help, but it will be easier for us to help if there is a real negotiating process.

“So that is why we hope that soon the informal meeting which will take place in Geneva, at the end of April, will lead to the resumption of the negotiating process.”

“We encourage the parties to show flexibility, to allow the resumption of negotiations.

“On the substance, we are very much attached to the principles set by the UN resolutions that are to say to the principle of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality.

“We need to find a lasting solution. And a lasting solution cannot be partition. Partition is not an option. So, we would like to have a reunited Cyprus within the European Union, and on the substance, we think that the federation is probably the best way, if not the only way, to do so.”

Asked about the EU’s involvement in the Cyprus problem, Grenet-Catalano recalled that “at the last European Council, the European Union members decided that they would appoint a representative to the UN Good Offices Mission as long as the negotiating process would have started again.”

“If the EU could be present at the next informal meeting, that would be good, because we consider that the EU has a role to play of course in this issue because, in the end, a reunited Cyprus will be an EU member state.

So, it is important to have the EU following the process all along. We are very much in favour of the European presence, as it was the case before, during the Crans-Montana negotiating process,” Grenet-Catalano added.

The latest round of UN-backed negotiations, in July 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended in failure.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres invited all parties involved to attend an informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27-29 April.

The foreign ministers of guarantor powers Greece, the UK and Turkey are expected to attend.