During this week’s UN-hosted informal Cyprus talks in Geneva, Turkish Cypriots were distinguished by taking a constructive stance, said the Turkish Cypriot premier on Friday.
“The Turkish Cypriot side took a constructive attitude” on the possible resumption of negotiations on Cyprus and how to resume them, Ersan Saner, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus’ (TRNC) prime minister, told reporters in the capital Lefkosa after returning from the meetings.
Saying that TRNC President Ersin Tatar clearly laid out the process of the Cyprus issue during three days of talks, Saner added that Tatar showed why federation models will go nowhere and instead put forth his own proposal for talks between two sovereign states.
Leaving the Cyprus issue at such an unresolved point only feeds the status quo, said Saner.
“We, as the Turkish Cypriot people, demonstrated in Geneva that we are a sovereign society as much as the Greek Cypriots when the Republic of Cyprus was established in 1960 and that we will never retreat on this,” he added.
After the talks, Turkish and the TRNC leaders told how Greek Cypriot administration officials pushed for discredited models for solving the island’s problems and also tried to deny how they had derailed previous negotiations.
The informal 5+1 talks – including both sides on the island, plus the guarantor states of Turkey, Greece, and the UK plus the UN – were meant to break the stalemate on the island and pave the way for future talks.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, the last day of the talks, that there is “no common ground yet” to resume formal negotiations on resolving the decades-old Cyprus problem.
Following the three days of informal talks, he added that he will convene another round of 5+1 talks to move the process forward.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
The island of Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Turkey's intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece, and the UK.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was founded in 1983.
The Greek Cypriot administration, backed by Greece, became a member of the European Union in 2004, although most Greek Cypriots rejected a UN settlement plan in a referendum that year, which had envisaged a reunited Cyprus joining the EU.