Greece and Cyprus reject Turkey’s two-state Cypriot solution

A UN-led summit in March will invite leaders from Cyprus’s rival administrations

epa08996441 A handout photo made available by the Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) shows Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades (R) and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis (L) holding a joint press conference following their meeting at the Presidential Palace, Nicosia, Cyprus, 08 February 2021. Mitsotakis is on a working visit to Cyprus.  EPA/CYPRUS PRESS AND INFORMATION OFFICE HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Cyprus and Greece on Monday rejected Turkey's proposed division of the island and said UN resolutions calling for a single state under a federal umbrella were the only basis for a peace deal.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said a prerequisite for reunification included the rapid withdrawal of the “occupying troops”, a reference to Turkish forces in the northern half of the island.

He was speaking after meeting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in Nicosia.

A UN-led summit in March will involve leaders from Cyprus’s rival administrations and foreign ministers from Britain, Greece and Turkey as they seek a way forward in a dispute that has raged for decades.

Both leaders said they supported the UN’s initiative.

Mr Anastasiades also called for EU support and said he hoped the bloc would show “the required solidarity by supporting the efforts to resolve the Cyprus issue with practical and active involvement in an expected future dialogue”.

Mr Mitsotakis said Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot administration in the north of the island support a settlement outside of the UN’s framework, which would mean a two-state solution.

"Athens and Nicosia remain focused on decisions of the United Nations … and which are the only agreed and binding framework for a solution," he said.

The UN Security Council called for a “settlement based on a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality”.

Cyprus was split in a Turkish invasion in 1974 following a brief Greek-inspired coup.

Tensions are high in the eastern Mediterranean amid a variety of issues, including access to gas-rich reserves and maritime boundaries.

Greece and Turkey resumed exploratory talks last month after a near five-year hiatus, leading to hopes of a way forward.

Mr Mitsotakis, who will head to Israel after his one-day visit to Cyprus, said the renewed engagements with Turkey were being approached with sincerity but no naivety.