Setting Conditions, Cyprus Ready to Restart Unity Talks

FILE - From left to right, Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Greek Cypriot leader, Nicos Anastasiades, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, react as they pose for a group picture during a new round of the conference on Cyprus under the auspices of the United Nations, in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, Friday, June 30, 2017. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)

Cyprus would resume collapsed talks to unify the island but only on condition Turkey and Turkish-Cypriots accept United Nations guidelines, Humanitarian Affairs Commissioner Photis Photiou said June 17.

The negotiations fell apart in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades refused to accept demands to let Turkey keep an army on the northern third it has unlawfully occupied since a 1974 invasion, and for the right to militarily intervene when it wants.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was at the Swiss talks but failed to broker a solution that has evaded a long line of diplomats for decades, and later he issued a report blaming no one for anything and said only an historic opportunity was missed.

Speaking at a memorial at the church in Meneou for those who fell in 1974 and are still missing from Kontea, Photiou said the island cannot go on under today’s “unacceptable situation” of occupation, the Cyprus Mail reported.

He said he hoped “Turkey would cooperate to solve the humanitarian problem of the missing, taking on the huge responsibilities it has. Most families of the missing continue to have no news of their loved ones. “Time is now the biggest enemy for the missing,” he added.

“We are ready anytime to continue the negotiations where they left off last July,” Photiou continued.