Countdown to Geneva talks begin

  Apr 26, 2021 12:05 pm Ibrar Younas 762
THE countdown has begun to the first major talks on the Cyprus issue for almost four years.

Countdown to Geneva talks begin

Taken from this week's issue


President Ersin Tatar will be travelling to Switzerland, for “informal” discussions with Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades to establish whether or not “common ground” exists for a solution. The talks are due to run from Tuesday, April 27, to Thursday, April 29, and will be held at the United Nations’ Geneva offices.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, based in New York, will be hosting the talks, his first trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic more than a year ago.

The foreign ministers of Cyprus’s three “guarantor” powers Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom – Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Nikos Dendias and Dominic Raab – will also be in attendance.

“The [UN] Secretary General . . . will go to Geneva for the informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue,” Mr Guterres’s spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric said during his daily press briefing on Tuesday. 

“He is convening this informal meeting following consultations conducted on his behalf by a senior UN official, Jane Holl Lute. Those consultations were being done over the past several months. 

“The purpose of the meeting, as we said [in February], will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus issue within a foreseeable horizon.”

Asked by a reporter if Mr Guterres had “any message for the parties” attending the Geneva talks, Mr Dujarric replied: “What the Secretary-General [is aiming for] is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution. We hope that the parties come with creativity to this very informal meeting.”

The three-day gathering will start with a reception, and Mr Guterres will hold “bilateral” meetings with the different sides on Tuesday. 

Wednesday will begin with a “plenary meeting” and Mr Guterres will hold meetings in the afternoon with officials from the guarantor countries. 

He will then have dinner with President Tatar and Mr Anastasiades. More bilateral meetings will take place on Thursday, with the possibility of a “tripartite meeting” between Mr Guterres and the two leaders of Cyprus, followed by a “concluding plenary meeting”. Sources have indicated, however, that if the meetings go well the talks could be extended.

Mr Tatar, who this week briefed the Council of Ministers ahead of his travels, said that he will be meeting with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday in Ankara before flying to Geneva.

Prime Minister Ersan Saner and the heads of other political party leaders represented in Parliament are also expected to head to Geneva. 

Speaking following the meeting with Mr Tatar, Mr Saner said the government fully supports Mr Tatar’s vision of a two-state “sovereign equality” solution in Cyprus. 

Meanwhile Mr Anastasiades visited Athens on Wednesday and met with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to finalise their “coordinated position”. 

Mr Mitsotakis said that Greece “supports a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution in Cyprus” and that any settlement must be based on “a single sovereignty, citizenship, and international representation”. Mr Anastasiades said his aim is the “evolution of the Republic of Cyprus into a functional and viable state” and to “get rid of guarantees and occupation troops”.