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De facto North Cyprus offers two-state plan at UN talks, dismissed by Greek Cypriots

Published: Updated:

The Turkish Cypriot delegation to UN-sponsored talks proposed a two-state solution for Cyprus on Wednesday to end the conflict with Greek Cypriots and put the island’s two communities on an equal footing, but it was swiftly rejected by the Greek Cypriot side.

The Mediterranean island was split in 1974 between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north. Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway state in Northern Cyprus.

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The proposal was presented at informal talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Geneva, who had urged both sides to “be creative” after a four-year stalemate in peace negotiations.

The foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Britain are also taking part as guarantor nations in the two-day talks.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who presented the plan, told Reuters earlier this week that he hoped his proposal for a two-state solution will bring a “new vision” to the talks, despite its prior rejection by Greek Cypriots.

“The Turkish Cypriot proposal is aimed at establishing a cooperative relationship between the two States on the island based on their inherent sovereign equality and equal international status,” the Turkish Cypriot proposal said.

It called on Guterres to take an initiative leading to the UN Security Council adopting a resolution securing the equal international status and sovereign equality of the two sides.

On that basis, negotiations would follow under his auspices on the future relationship between the two independent states, focusing on property, security and “border adjustment”, it said.

Any agreement reached would be submitted for approval in simultaneous referenda in the two states, it added.

But Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, who serves as president of the island’s internationally-recognized government, said that the proposal was a “great disappointment”.

“Of course I have told the Secretary-General that our attempt was to create a positive climate, without provocations, without any references to whatever unacceptable (things) we heard. I have also told the Secretary-General that we will submit, in writing, our own positions,” he said in a statement.

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