x

Politics

EU Absent from UN-Led Unity Talks for EU Member Cyprus

GENEVA — When uncertain talks begin in Geneva, Switzerland on April 27 about how to solve the dilemma of a long-divided Cyprus, a key partner won't be there: a representative from the European Union.

While Cyprus is a member of the bloc and Turkey isn't – Turkey has occupied the northern third of the island since an unlawful 1974 invasion – the EU wasn't invited, after Turkey said it was opposed.

Turkey doesn't recognize Cyprus, bars its ships and planes and has been drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters in defiance of soft EU sanctions but said it didn't want anyone from the EU involved in talks.

The three-day meeting was arranged by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who took part in the last round of reunification talks that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

That was over the refusal of Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriots, who make up less than 20 percent of the population to remove a 35,000-strong standing army and demands for the right of further military intervention.

Peter Stano, the European Commission’s lead spokesperson for foreign affairs, told reporters that, “We haven’t received any specific invitation” to the forthcoming talks.

“But it doesn’t change anything on the overall position of the EU. We remain ready to play an active role and support this process that both sides can focus on what is ahead of them and find finally a solution,” he said, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu News Agency.

He said that the bloc remained committed to “a comprehensive settlement that means agreement by both sides which would be beneficial for Cyprus, the EU and for the wider security in the region,” repeating constant platitudes.

The biggest problem for the talks – if they talk – is that Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar said that he would follow the line of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who doesn't want unification but two separate states.

That would bring recognition to the occupied territory no other country in the world apart from Turkey accepts as a state and scuttle any hope of bringing the island back together again.

Besides the UN, Cyprus, and the Turkish-Cypriots, other actors set to take part are the three guarantors of security, Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler the United Kingdom, which still has military bases there.

RELATED

ATHENS - Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis met on Friday with the President of Cyprus' Democratic Rally (DISY) , Averof Neofytou, at the Maximos Mansion.

Top Stories

Politics

BOSTON – The newly-elected mayor of Somerville, a town adjacent to Boston and Cambridge, Katjana Ballantyne, was born in Greece and immigrated to the United States at the age of four.

Associations

ATHENS – A new initiative to unite the commercial elements of the Hellenic Diaspora with each other and with Greece was launched on January 10 at the Athens War Museum.

Politics

ANKARA - After declaring he wants a step back toward diplomacy from aggression against Greece, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan doubled down on the tough talk and provocations, going after Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and sending fighter jets into Greek airspace.

Video

White House: Russia Prepping Pretext for Ukraine Invasion

WASHINGTON — US intelligence officials have determined a Russian effort is underway to create a pretext for its troops to further invade Ukraine, and Moscow has already prepositioned operatives to conduct "a false-flag operation" in eastern Ukraine, according to the White House.