Borrell tells Turkey to stop ‘two-state rhetoric’

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The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said Brussels is ready to play a significant role in the Cyprus reunification process while urging Turkey to drop the two-state rhetoric.

Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots must refrain from the rhetoric of demanding a two-state solution for Cyprus because the EU will never accept such a settlement, Borrell told President Nicos Anastasiades, according to the Cyprus News Agency.

During his visit to Nicosia on Friday, Borrell held talks with President Anastasiades and Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides.

De-escalation of tension and progress on the Cyprus problem is pivotal for developing a mutually beneficial relationship between the EU and Turkey, said the EU’s foreign policy chief.

Borrell affirmed the EU’s readiness to be represented in the new UN process on the Cyprus problem and actively contribute to achieving a settlement, according to a written statement by Government Spokesman Kyriakos Koushos.

Borrell assured Nicosia that the EU would appoint an envoy to participate in the UN good offices mission as the bloc has a role in Cyprus’ reunification.

Anastasiades and Borrell had a private meeting lasting half an hour. Their meeting was followed by extended talks attended by Christodoulides, Agriculture Minister, Costas Kadis and Koushos.

Koushos said views were exchanged regarding the informal Cyprus conference’s prospects the UN Secretary-General has convened, in Geneva, for April 27-29, and the forthcoming European Council where EU -Turkey relations are to be discussed.

President Anastasiades reiterated his readiness to attend the summit with the sincere political will to enable Cyprus talks to resume.

He said the resumption of Cyprus talks must be based on UN parameters and resolutions.

Anastasiades said he expects Turkey to tangibly show sincere determination to improve its relations with the EU and its member states, including Cyprus.

He said that any de-escalation of tensions caused by Turkey, including opening fenced-off Varosha and energy drills inside Cyprus waters, must be lasting.

The European Commission’s report on Turkey’s EU progress will be submitted to the European Council later this month.

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.

Nicosia has requested the EU also be represented at the summit in Switzerland.