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Politics

UN Envoy Sees No Answer Yet Ending Cyprus’ Long Division, Little Hope

September 30, 2022

NICOSIA – After decades of failure trying to reunify Cyprus, split by unlawful 1974 Turkish invasions, the United Nations Special Representative Colin William Stewart said it may stay that way.

A mutually agreed settlement is unlikely, he told a conference in the split capital of Nicosia, organized by the Delphi Economic Forum in cooperation with the non-profit Oxygono, said EURACTIV.

“I don’t think this impasse is necessarily insurmountable in the medium term, but realistically I don’t see much prospect for talks before the upcoming elections on the island and in the region next year,” he said.

“After those elections, we may find ourselves in a new context, better or worse. It is impossible at this point to predict,” he added, the site reported, another dire reminder of how intractable the problem is.

“I am extremely concerned that the option of a mutually agreed settlement of the problem – in other words, a formula for reunification of the island acceptable to both sides – is ‘fading away’ and will not be available for much longer,” he added.

Adding to the dilemma is that Turkish-Cypriot hardliner leader Ersin Tatar, echoing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – doesn’t want reunification.

He wants the UN and world to recognize the occupied northern third that is a self-declared republic but unaccepted apart from Turkey, which keeps 40,000 troops there and is planning to send reinforcements after the United States lifted an arms embargo for the legitimate Greek-Cypriot side that is a member of the European Union.

European Parliament President Roberta Metsola said that, “Europe cannot be truly whole as long as Cyprus remains divided,” and that “the only way forward is to have a single, sovereign European state, a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation, in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions,” which Tatar has rejected.

He met UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the annual General Assembly opening in New York because the occupied territory doesn’t belong to the body and has no official standing.

Tatar said he told Guterres – who was at the last round of negotiations that collapsed in July, 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana and hasn’t been able to broker a solution – that the only answer really is recognizing the occupied land.

Tatar said compounding the dilemma is that the United Kingdom, one of the guarantors of security and which still has military bases there, has done nothing to help find a solution.

He told Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah that’s a propaganda mouthpiece for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the UK is just watching and doing nothing.

“I regret having to say this, but I find it disappointing that a guarantor nation, which witnesses so much injustice and must be neutral, continues to act in such a careless manner,” he told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency.

“The United Kingdom remained a spectator as the conditions in Cyprus occurred in favor of the Greek-Cypriots but against the Turkish-Cypriots. It has not moved a finger, because they have bases in the south, they have their own interests,” he added in another lament.

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