Ahead of the informal five-party conference on the Cyprus issue early next month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu stressed Tuesday that the most important issue is the way in which the island’s natural resources are shared, unveiling Ankara’s ultimate goals in the region.
“If in Cyprus we manage to find a way to share revenues (natural wealth), then we will have solved 50% of the Eastern Mediterranean issue,” he said after meeting Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar in Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus.
In a joint press conference with Tatar, Cavusoglu also reiterated Ankara’s support for a two-state solution, as opposed to a bicommunal federal solution which has formed the basis of negotiations for the island’s reunification for more than four decades.
“The federal solution has been negotiated for 52 whole years. Each time the negotiations led to failure due to the attitude of the Greek Cypriots, as was done in the Annan plan and other plans,” he said, adding, “This is now exhausted.”
“Negotiations with equal sovereignty must now take place. So if there is equal sovereignty then there can be two sovereign states,” he said, and referred to a “de facto” situation that prevails on the island, which was divided along ethnic lines by the Turkish invasion in 1974.
“Today in Cyprus there are two communities, two peoples, two states. That is, there is a de facto situation even if they do not recognize it. That fact must be taken into account,” he said.
Tatar said he would go to talks in March with the position of aiming “for equal sovereignty.”
“That is, the existence of two states next to each other,” he said.
Meanwhile, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias referred to historic relations between Greece and the United Kingdom during his contacts in London with his counterpart Dominic Raab, and Under-Secretary of State for European Neighbourhood and the Americas Wendy Morton.
He said they discussed the upcoming meeting on Cyprus, given that both countries are guarantor powers of the island republic.
Greece, he said, expects the UK to contribute – as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, and with its major capabilities – to the creation in the Eastern Mediterranean of a framework for implementation of the rules of international law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).