NEW YORK — Turkey’s prime minister called on U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Thursday to come up with a plan to reunify Cyprus before he leaves at the end of 2016.
Ahmet Davutoglu told a U.N. news conference after meeting Ban that Turkey “will do everything possible for a sustainable, comprehensive peace in Cyprus.”
Cyprus was split into a Turkish-speaking north and Greek-speaking south in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of a union with Greece.
Davutogly recalled the peace blueprint to reunite the island drafted by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan which was approved by Turkish Cypriots, but rejected by Greek Cypriots in separate referenda in April 2004.
“In 2004 we supported the Annan plan and I suggested to Mr. Ban Ki-moon that we need now a Ban Ki-moon plan before the end of his term to end this long-surviving crisis,” he said. Ban’s second five-year term ends on Dec. 31, 2016.
Talks to reunify the Mediterranean island are currently deadlocked.
Cyprus’ president suspended the U.N.-mediated reunification talks in October after Turkey announced plans to search for oil and gas in waters where the Cypriot government has already licensed companies to drill.
In mid-January, the U.N. Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said the talks were at risk of being derailed over the issue of the rights to search for oil and gas.
Davutoglu urged Greek Cypriots to return to the negotiating table and called for an international conference “as early as possible — like what we did in 2004.”
Instead of aggravating the atmosphere by unilateral actions on natural resources, he said, “It is better to come around the table and discuss in detail” the issues.