The United Nations announced plans to hold an informal meeting concerning the divided island of Cyprus in April to look at the prospect of resuming reunification talks amid a growing gap between positions of Turkish and Greek Cypriots.
“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,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement Wednesday. The meeting is planned in Geneva between April 27-29, he said.
Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north of the island say that a two-state solution to the Cyprus conflict is the only option that merits a discussion. Cyprus and Greece do not support such a formula, saying a bi-zonal federation is the only solution for the reunification of the Mediterranean island.
“The only issue that can be discussed in Cyprus from now on is the two-state solution,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier in February.
“Otherwise, everyone will take care of their own business.”
Cyprus has been divided since Turkish forces captured its northern third in 1974, following an attempted coup in which a military junta in Athens sought to unite the island with Greece. To this day, the self-declared Turkish Cypriot state is recognised only by Turkey, while the Republic of Cyprus in the south of the island is internationally recognised and joined the European Union in 2004. UN-led efforts to reunify the island have failed, most recently in 2017.