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Politics

After Four Years, Cyprus Reunification Talks Start with Division

With zero expectations anything will be accomplished, talks to talk about whether to talk reunification for Cyprus open in Geneva April 27 with Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot side already rejecting the idea, wanting two states.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who was at the last round of discussions in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana that collapsed when Turkey said it would never remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied northern third, is taking another shot at a solution.

The so-called 5 + 1 talks will include the legitimate Greek-Cypriot government that's a member of the European Union, the Turkish-Cypriot self-declared government unrecognized in the world, and the three guarantors of security: Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom.

But while the idea is to see if there's common ground for reopening serious negotiations, Turkish-Cypriot new leader Ersin Tatar, a nationalist, said he will follow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's lead for two separate states.

That would bring recognition to the occupied side but the EU isn't being allowed to take part as Turkey doesn't recognize Cyprus and bars its ships and planes although it's been trying to join the bloc fruitlessly since 2005.

Chances for a breakthrough are nil as Turkey said it won't stop drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters, ignoring soft EU sanctions, and has drawn a hard red line against reunification, signaling another collapse of talks.

Tatar will be bolstered by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu while Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is getting support from Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias who, while in Ankara, called out Turkey for provocations.

The talks are scheduled for three days but could last only two depending on how they go, said Kathimerini, but there's been little optimism from either side and no real agenda set apart from informal discussion.

The United Kingdom, which has left the EU, also rejected the idea of a representative from the bloc taking part although it's sending Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to sit in on the sessions.

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