UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in his latest report, received by Anadolu Agency, that a peaceful and common future on the divided island of Cyprus is “truly possible” through meaningful and result-oriented negotiations.
Guterres praised the governments of Greece and Turkey for the positive change in relations and urged the two leaders in Cyprus to restart negotiations to resolve the decades-old dispute.
Guterres said the main positions of the two sides in the peace process are very different, but the first face-to-face meeting with Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Christodoulides and TRNC President Ersin Tatar was a “positive step” towards establishing links. .
He urged to be proactive in seeking mutually acceptable methods for dialogue.
“I believe this is very important to find a way that is mutually acceptable,” he said.
“The lack of concrete dialogue between the two sides on issues related to the peace process continues to deepen differences of opinion going forward,” Guterres said. “At the same time, the division between communities continues to widen.”
He encouraged both sides to seize opportunities to build trust and good bonds through meaningful initiatives.
“Such initiatives are crucial to create momentum towards dialogue that could ultimately pave the way for settlement negotiations,” he said.
Guterres suggested that an important step forward would be an agreement on the appointment of a UN envoy who could explore ways to reach common ground to restart negotiations for a lasting solution in Cyprus.
It also urged leaders to actively promote human contact, cooperation and trade, including improving existing crossing points and opening new ones.
He reiterated his call to avoid unilateral actions that could increase tensions in and near the buffer zone.
Guterres also urged the parties to make sincere efforts to explore sustainable energy cooperation options on and around the island.
“Natural resources in and around Cyprus should benefit both communities and create a strong incentive for the parties to find mutually acceptable and lasting solutions to natural resources-related disputes,” he said.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to reach a comprehensive settlement.
The report covers the dates between 13 December 2022 and 12 June 2023.
Ethnic attacks that began in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to retreat to residential areas for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at the annexation of Greece led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor force to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was established in 1983.
It has seen a tumultuous peace process in recent years, including a failed attempt in Switzerland in 2017, under the auspices of the guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the United Kingdom.
The Greek Cypriot administration entered the EU in 2004, the same year Greek Cypriots thwarted former UN chief Kofi Annan’s plan to end the long-standing conflict.
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