Brussels (Brussels Morning) Ersin Tatar, President of the de facto state of Northern Cyprus, is to put a two-state solution to the UN-led talks slated for this week in Geneva, Reuters reports.
He said the proposal to resolve the conflict on Cyprus, which was previously rejected by Greek Cypriots, offers a “new vision”.
On Tuesday, the UN is to host informal talks on Cyprus, which has been divided between the Turkish north and Greek south since 1974.
The organisation has invited the two sides plus the foreign ministers of Britain, Greece and Turkey, the three guarantor countries, to attend the talks.
Greek side against the proposal
Previous attempts by the UN to reunify Cyprus under a federal scheme have failed, with Northern Cyprus calling for a two-state solution and Greek Cypriots in rejecting the proposal maintaining that the proposition implies the sovereign authority of Turkish Cypriots.
Tatar pointed out that some 40 years of negotiations on a federal solution had failed to yield results and said it was important to take a more “realistic” approach.
“My new vision is two sovereign states living side-by-side in a good, neighbourly relationship, to cooperate in any way, to promote welfare for all Cypriots”, Tatar declared.
“When I say two states, I obviously mean the recognition of the Turkish Cypriots”, he said, noting “we are as sovereign as the Greek Cypriots”.
Tatar has rejected the EU’s request to attend the talks as an observer, arguing that since Cyprus is a member state, the bloc cannot be objective.
Says he will not give up
The three-day meeting in Geneva is aimed at preparing the ground for formal negotiations. Tatar made clear that should the Greek Cypriots reject his proposal, he would continue pushing for it in cooperation with Ankara.
The partial re-opening of the previously closed-off Varosha quarter of Famagusta last year has enflamed tensions between the two sides.
Tatar noted how close to 150,000 people visited Varosha since last October and said that it would be pointless therefore to keep it closed if the island’s division cannot be resolved.