Geneva summit finds no common ground

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A crunch Geneva summit on resuming Cyprus talks after four years in limbo ended without a breakthrough on Thursday, the United Nations conceded.

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said there was not enough common ground to resume negotiations on Cyprus after a three-day summit attempting to end the impasse in peace negotiations.

Guterres said the United Nations would make a fresh attempt in “probably two or three months” that Brussels welcomed as well.

“Unfortunately, today, we are not able to reach the agreements that we would wish to reach, but we are not going to give up.”

“My agenda is strictly to fight for the security and well-being of the Cypriots — of the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots — that deserve to live in peace and prosperity together.”

President Nicos Anastasiades said the UN chief was given no other alternative because of the stance taken by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership.

He said neither the UN nor the European Union could accept the Turkish side’s demands for a two-state solution.

“I believe that under the circumstances, taking into account demands of the other side, there was successful management on the part of the Secretary-General but also successful management on our part, so the goals set by Turkey are not achieved,” said Anastasiades.

Diplomats had been trying to make headway to end a decades-old conflict between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, destabilising the eastern Mediterranean and is a key source of tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey.

“The truth is that at the end of our efforts, we have not yet found enough common ground to allow for the resumption of formal negotiations,” Guterres told a news conference in Geneva.

“We are determined to do everything we can to make this dialogue move on and to make this dialogue be able to reach positive results”, he added.

“There will be consultations before the next meeting, and our intention is to try to create, as much as possible, the conditions that will allow the next meeting to be successful.”

For decades, the United Nations has been attempting to piece Cyprus back together as a two-zone federation – the only thing the two sides have been able to agree on in principle.

However, a new Turkish Cypriot leadership now proposes a two-state federation, rejected outright by Greek Cypriots.

The summit at the United Nations European headquarters was also attended by the foreign ministers of Britain, Greece, and Turkey, which are guarantor powers under the island’s independence treaty.

Britain welcomed the commitment by all sides to meet again soon; foreign minister Dominic Raab tweeted: “The UK will continue to work with all parties to seek a fair and lasting settlement.”

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said there was no point in holding formal talks on Cyprus without recognition of his breakaway state.

He said there was “no turning back” from the two-state proposal his delegation made.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a joint news conference with Tatar that Greek Cypriots did not bring a new proposal to the talks in Geneva.

Negotiations for a solution have repeatedly failed, with the last round stalling in 2017.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Athens demonstrated a constructive attitude at the summit.

He said Greece attended the summit to create conditions for the resumption of negotiations within a bizonal bicommunal federation framework, as explicitly defined by the UN Security Council.

“In this context…we stressed that any future solution must respect all these parameters…We demonstrated a constructive attitude. Along with the Republic of Cyprus, we made efforts to achieve this goal.

“Unfortunately, it was not possible to find common ground for the resumption of negotiations within this framework due to the Turkish-Cypriot side and Turkey’s stance,” Dendias said. (source agencies)