Geneva to hold UN Cyprus summit in April

The United Nations will convene a five-party Cyprus conference on deadlocked settlement talks in Geneva on April 27-29, said a spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades will attend the meeting, along with representatives from Turkey, Greece and Britain.

Varosha, a southern suburb of the city of Famagusta, is seen from a beach.

Duvar English - Reuters

The United Nations will convene a meeting of parties in the Cyprus dispute in Geneva in late April, the first such meeting since 2017 when talks about the divided island collapsed in disarray.

Cyprus was split between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup in 1974. The conflict has long caused tension between NATO allies Greece and Turkey and has complicated any effort to tap potential energy resources around the Mediterranean island.

Each side has sought to stress their red lines as the summit draws closer. Greek Cypriots and their Greek allies want reunification of the island under a federal umbrella, while Turkish Cypriots and Turkey seek a two-state solution.

“The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. It will take place on April 27-29, he said.

“The Turkish Cypriots’ only option in the world is not to be partnered with the Greek Cypriots in some way. We were partners in the past and saw and experienced what happened to us, and we are still experiencing it,” Tahsin Ertuğruloğlu, foreign minister of breakaway northern Cyprus, told the Anadolu news agency.

This referred to violence between the island’s two communities after a power-sharing administration crumbled in 1963, forcing Turkish Cypriots into enclaves and the dispatch of a peacekeeping force.

Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar has many times said that he supports separate administrations on the Mediterranean island. "We are seeking our rights. That right is recognition of our sovereignty. There are two separate regions and peoples in Cyprus," he said earlier in February. 

President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader whose administration is recognized as representing the whole island, said: “I reiterate my strong determination to participate ... so that conditions will be generated for the resumption of the talks to achieve a functional and viable solution for the benefit of both communities.”

That solution should be based on past agreements of the two sides and United Nations resolutions for a bizonal, bicommunal federation, he said.

The meeting in Geneva will also include representatives from Greece, Turkey and Britain, which were guarantors of Cyprus’s sovereignty upon independence in 1960.