The president of ethnically divided Cyprus said on Thursday he’ll attend a United Nations-hosted meeting in April with the leader of the breakaway Turkish Cypriots with “full political will” to get dormant peace talks up and running again.
Nicos 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 on April 27-29.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will host the informal meeting that will also be attended by the foreign ministers of Cyprus’ “guarantors” – Greece, Turkey and Britain.
This will be the latest push to get the two sides focused on reaching a peace deal that has remained elusive since Cyprus’ division in 1974, when Turkey invaded following a coup aiming at union with Greece.
Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the east Mediterranean island’s northern third.
The last attempt at cobbling together an accord over several days at a Swiss resort in the summer of 2017 collapsed amid acrimony.
April’s meeting is overshadowed by Turkey’s apparent shift from the long-established aim of forging a federation made up of Greek- and Turkish-speaking zones to an agreement between two equal, sovereign states.
Earlier 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.
Greek Cypriots strongly reject any deal that would formalize the nation’s ethnic partition. Anastasiades instead is proposing a “decentralized federation” under which the Greek- and Turkish-speaking zones would be granted more authority to run their own affairs. [AP]