French Ambassador Rejects Turkey’s Call for Two States on Divided Cyprus

NICOSIA — In another sign that exploratory talks over how to deal with a divided Cyprus will go nowhere – or not even start – France said Turkey’s insistence on two states instead of reunification won’t work.

France Ambassador Salina Grenet-Catalano told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) he backs the long-standing model for unity despite repeated diplomatic failures to solve a dilemma almost 47 years after Turkey invaded and occupied the northern third.

She said France backs United Nations resolutions for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality but Turkey said the only issue it will discuss if upcoming scheduled UN-backed talks are held in Geneva is two states.

That would give recognition to the occupied territory that is isolated in the world while the legitimate Cypriot government on the other side is a member of the European Union that Turkey has fruitlessly been trying to join since 2005.

Grenet-Catalano said France wanted a reunified island inside the EU where there is no place for partition, rejecting Turkey’s argument that generations of failure demand another idea.

“We would like to have a reunited Cyprus within the European Union, and we think that federation is probably the best way, if not the only way, to do so,” calling on Turkey to rethink what’s likely a non-starter.

The talks set for April 27 would include both sides as well as the UN, and the three guarantors of security for the island, Greece, Turkey and the former Colonial ruler The United Kingdom which still has military bases there.

“We are willing to help, and that is what President Macron reaffirmed to President Anastasiades recently during a phone call … but it will be easier for us to help if there is a real negotiating process,” she said

“So that is why we hope that soon the informal meeting which will take place in Geneva, at the end of April, will lead to the resumption of the negotiating process.” she said, adding that, “We encourage the parties to show flexibility, to allow the resumption of negotiations.

“On the substance, we are very much attached to the principles set by the UN resolutions that are to say to the principle of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality.

“We need to find a lasting solution. And a lasting solution cannot be partition. Partition is not an option. So, we would like to have a reunited Cyprus within the European Union, and on the substance, we think that the federation is probably the best way, if not the only way, to do so.”

The EU though issued only soft sanctions against Turkey for drilling for oil and gas in Cypriot waters and exempted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said two states is the only issue on the table for him, backed by Turkish-Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

The last round of negotiations collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana when Erdogan and the then-leader of the Turkish-Cypriot side, Mustafa Akinci, said they would never remove a 35,000-strong army on the occupied side and wanted the right of further military intervention as they deemed.


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