Turkish Cypriot leader receives UN envoy, reiterates his 2-state solution
Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar discussed the issue of Cyprus on Feb. 1 with the U.N. mission chief appointed to facilitate the solution of the decades-old dispute on the divided island.
Tatar received Colin Stewart, the U.N. secretary general’s special representative in Cyprus and head of the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), a statement released by Tatar’s office said.
He reiterated once more his two-state solution approach on the island based on equal international status and sovereign equality, adding that the efforts to find a realistic, fair and sustainable solution to the issue would continue.
Speaking to Turkish News Agency-Cyprus (TAK) following the meeting, Stewart said he is always pleased to meet with Tatar, describing today’s meeting as “excellent.”
Stewart said they have been making a great effort to create conditions that could pave the way for a final solution to the crisis on the island.
Stating that he conveyed the Security Council’s decision on the extension of the mandate of the UNFICYP, Stewart said: “The Security Council, as the U.N. Secretary-General, is eager to appoint an envoy and wishes to see a consensus on the powers of this envoy.”
Stressing that the Council also wants the two sides on the island to respect the U.N.’s authority in the buffer zone, Stewart noted that the council is concerned about the possible effects of violations in the buffer zone if they continue.
“The Security Council strongly encourages measures aimed at creating the conditions for ultimately a settlement in Cyprus, such as inter-communal relations, understanding, building trade relations, peace education on the island,” he noted.
Pointing out that there is a long distance between the two sides, even to hold any talks on the solution of the Cyprus problem, the official said: “That’s why it’s important right now that we do everything we can to create the conditions that can allow for a comprehensive solution.”
The island of Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long struggle between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the U.N. to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including a failed 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
Stewart had told the members of the U.N. Security Council last month that the focus of his mission is now to build trust and respect between the two communities and to create a better environment for peace-building on the island.