Turkish Cypriot leader urges UN to recognise two states

Turkish Cypriot leader calls on UN to recognise two independent states
2 min read
Ersin Tatar uged the UN to pass a resolution ensuring 'equal international status and sovereign equality of the two sides is secured'.
Ersin Tatar met with UN chief Antonio Guterres in Geneva [TURKISH CYPRIOT PRESIDENCY / HANDOUT]

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar called on the UN Security Council on Wednesday to recognise two independent states as a way out of the decades-old dispute between Turks and Cypriots on the divided Mediterranean island.

Tatar made the proposal in a document submitted to UN chief Antonio Guterres who is overseeing three days of informal talks in Geneva with the rival Cypriot leaders.

The two-page document entitled "Turkish Cypriot Proposal for a Sustainable Settlement" sets out key principles that would govern such an accord.

Among them is a call for the Security Council to adopt a resolution "in which the equal international status and sovereign equality of the two sides is secured".

"Such a resolution will form the new basis for the establishment of a cooperative relationship between the two existing states," the proposal says.

It outlines the measures that need to be taken once the resolution is adopted -- which is an unlikely scenario -- and how the negotiations should proceed.

"The negotiations will focus on the future relationship between the two independent states, property, security and border adjustment, as well as relations with the EU," according to the proposal.

It adds that the negotiations would be supported by Turkey, Greece and Britain, as well as, where appropriate, the EU as observer.

"In the context of any agreement the two states will mutually recognize each other; the three guarantor states (Turkey, Greece and Britain) will support this," the proposal says.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey occupied the northern third in response to a coup orchestrated by an Athens-backed junta seeking to annex the island to Greece.

The Turkish-occupied zone later declared independence, but remains heavily dependent on Ankara.

A UN-controlled buffer zone separates the breakaway state from areas controlled by EU member the Republic of Cyprus.

Negotiations for a solution have repeatedly failed, with the last round held in Switzerland stalling in 2017.

The three days of informal talks this week are aimed at determining "whether a common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus issue with a foreseeable horizon," Guterres' spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Tuesday.

The foreign ministers of Turkey, Greece and Britain have also been invited to the latest talks, set to wrap up on Thursday.

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