US backs effort to reach Cyprus reunification deal: White House
WASHINGTON / CRANS-MONTANAThe United States on July 6 urged the reunification of Cyprus and called on the opposing Greek Cypriot and Turkish sides to reach a settlement, the White House said after a call between U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and leaders on both sides.
Pence, who spoke by phone with Republic of Cyprus' Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot Leader Mustafa Akıncı, backed talks in Crans-Montana in Switzerland and was confident they could "secure a settlement that would reunify Cyprus as a bizonal, bicommunal federation to the benefit of all Cypriots," the White House statement said.
Earlier, Akıncı has said July 6 must be a “decisive day” for the reunification of Cyprus, as U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres will return to the talks in the Swiss Alps.
“Tomorrow is going to be an important day. As you know, the secretary-general is arriving for the second day and we hope that with his contribution we finally conclude an agreement. That is why he is coming,”
Akıncı told reporters on July 5 after meeting in Crans-Montana with representatives from the Greek Cypriot side, the EU and the three guarantor states Turkey, Greece and the U.K.
“We very much hope that what he has already started will be developed tomorrow so that it will help us to reach an comprehensive settlement,” Akıncı said.
“We are hoping that tomorrow will be intense and productive day for all people in Cyprus,” he said. Akinci said the proposal from Greek Cypriot side would not bring a solution as there was nothing new in it.
“We need reciprocal steps and tomorrow is the time for that,” he said.
“Tomorrow must be a decisive day for Cyprus,” Akıncı said, adding the prime ministers of the guarantor countries would not join the talks.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım and his Greek counterpart, Alexis Tsipras, spoke via telephone late on July 5 about a permanent solution for the island.
The leaders agreed it was possible only with equal rights for both communities, according to sources from the Turkish prime ministry.
On July 4, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu criticized the Greek Cypriots for not showing “good intentions and flexibility” in the talks taking place in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.
“If there is to be a solution, we should decide this week, because this is the last conference,” Çavuşoğlu had said.
Guterres left the Swiss resort on July 1 after participating in the Cyprus conference a day earlier, along with Turkish and Greek Cypriot leaders as well as the guarantor countries.
The latest round of Cyprus talks in Crans-Montana began June 28. On Monday, the U.N. received proposals from the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, as well as from the three guarantor nations. The U.N. is seeking a peace deal to unite Cyprus under a federal umbrella, which could also define the future of Europe’s relations with Turkey, a key player in the conflict.
The Eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks, and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.