Cypriot President Says UN Chief Has Private Ideas to Restart Unity Talks

NICOSIA – Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has thoughts how to resume long-stalled talks to reunify the island although the Turkish-Cypriot side and Turkey said they’re not interested.

“Our response to them (Guterres’ thoughts) was positive and we expect to see the response of the Turkish side,” he said, without adding what they were and how he hoped it would get Turkish-Cypriot hardline leader Ersin Tatar to the bargaining table.

Christodoulides said he met Guterres in Brussels and that the UN Secretary-General has “some thoughts and ideas which we support and we expect to see the response of the Turkish side to these thoughts” said The Cyprus Mail.

He said he believes the ideas, whatever they are, could open the door for resumption of negotiations although Tatar and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have rejected reunification and demanded the US accept the occupied side that only Turkey recognizes.

“We believe that Turkey’s relations with the EU, the full range of Euro-Turkish relations, taking into account Turkey’s desire to strengthen these relations, could lead, through a gradual approach, in positive developments,” he said in delicate diplomatic terms.

He said that Guterres wants to keep his plans secret from the public which would be affected by any decisions and a process they aren’t allowed to know. The last round of talks collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when the Turkish-Cypriots and Turkey said a 35,000-strong standing army on the occupied side would never leave.

Guterres was there and tried to broker a resolution but failed, joining a long line of other UN chiefs, diplomats, envoys, representatives and officials unable to put the island back together again, hopes fading away.

Guterres has appointed yet another envoy, Colombian diplomat Maria Angela Hoguin Cuellar, who played a role in bringing an end to a long rebel uprising in her country, to try to persuade the two sides on the island to talk again.


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