17 April 2014, Thursday
Today's Zaman

Last chance for Cyprus reunification lost as UN calls off conference

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22 April 2012, Sunday /TODAYSZAMAN.COM WITH AP
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders have not made sufficient progress during talks on reunifying Cyprus to call an international conference at this time.

Ban's spokesman made the announcement Saturday afternoon following the secretary-general's meeting Friday with Alexander Downer, the UN special adviser on Cyprus, and telephone calls earlier Saturday with Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris Christofias and Turkish Cypriot President Derviş Eroğlu.

Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey intervened after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared an independent state in the north in 1983, but only Turkey recognizes it and keeps 35,000 troops there.

Ban has been pressing the two leaders to reach a settlement, and Downer said last month he had planned to call an international conference by early May, bringing together Britain, Greece and Turkey with the aim of putting the finishing touches on an accord.

But Downer said the two sides have not yet converged closely enough on key issues. He said talks are stalled on how executive power would be shared under an envisioned federation and on how to deal with private property lost during the intervention.

Ban's spokesman said that on the basis of the meeting with Downer on Friday, "the secretary-general shared his assessment that there is not the sufficient progress on core issues that would provide a basis for calling an international conference at this time."

Eroğlu accused Greek Cyprus of failure in peace talks and said UN chief called off the conference after Greek Cyprus declined to come to the five-party talks that included Cypriot sides, Turkey, Greece and the UK.

Eroğlu said he told UN’s Ban in his last letter that he will show necessary flexibility during the five-party talks with respect to thorny issues such as administration, power sharing and property. Turkish Cypriot president said Greek Cypriot’s reluctance for the UN conference affected the Secretary-General in his decision to call of the conference.

Greek Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, but only the south enjoys membership benefits.

Turkey, an EU membership candidate, doesn't recognize Greek Cyprus as a sovereign country and has threatened to freeze its relations with the bloc if the island takes over the presidency before a reunification accord is reached.

Eroğlu has said that there would be no point in carrying on with talks after June, but Christofias insists that negotiations ought to continue even during the Greek Cypriot EU presidency.

Long-running negotiations to reunify divided Cyprus will likely halt in July, when Greek Cyprus takes over the European Union's six-month rotating presidency. Alexander Downer, the UN Special Adviser on Cyprus, earlier said Turkish Cypriots believe negotiations during that period would be "meaningless" since Christofias would be preoccupied with EU matters.

Numerous rounds of UN mediated peace talks over four decades have led nowhere. The latest round, which began amid high hopes in 2008, has achieved limited progress, and both sides have begun blaming each other for the impasse.

Speaking about the prospects of the peace talks in Cyprus, Eroğlu said he will have the last bilateral talks with Christofias.   

Greek Cypriots object to any fixed negotiation deadlines to avoid repeating their rejection in a referendum of a 2004 UN-brokered deal they said was weighed against them. Turkish Cypriots had approved the deal.

Eroğlu said Greek Cyprus has no intention for peace in the island and argued that embargo on Turkish Cyprus will continue forever as Greek Cyprus the EU pegged the lift of sanctions to reunification of the island.

Eroğlu also denied speculations that Turkish Cyprus is mulling to change its name, saying that he is not disturbed by the current name of the country.

Turkish media, citing unnamed official sources, reported last week that if a solution is not found by the time Greek Cyprus takes over the EU presidency on July 1, Ankara and the Turkish side will initiate a “Plan B.” Plan B would entail beginning to exert unilateral diplomatic efforts for the international recognition of Turkish Cyprus as the “Turkish Cypriot State.”

The Turkish Cypriot State was the name used to refer to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) in former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's 2004 Cyprus Plan as one of the federal units of a United Cyprus Republic. Greek Cyprus was referred to as the Greek Cypriot State.

If Britian and America wanted Turkey to get out of Northern Cyprus they would have given the order and it would have happened. Until the British and the Americans are ready 40,000 troops and 200,000 illegal Turkish settlers will remain in Northern Cyprus. If I was the Greek Cypriot leader Dimitris ...
David, if you are going to reduce the 60 year old Cyprus problem to just one side apologising and paying compensation, then let me ask you, did the side responsible for the "ferocious force resulting in so much death and destruction" in, say, Vietnam and Iraq, pay any compensation and apologised?
RebelJim, you belong to a nation which is morally bankrupt 10 times over. Time to jetison your strident, nationalist nonsense and join the 21st century.
its funny how turks want rights for their turks to have a state or autonomy for cypriot Turks but deny the same right to Kurds who are in more numbers. it is easy to see why EU will never accept such country
@triplesolution, don't get off-topic, or are you one who can't help but always bring the Jews into any topic? You're not funny, you're plain ignorant.
Its funny that how people tent to have short memories !! Southern Cyprus said to the UN plan to unify the island and northern Cyprus said yes So, now the ball is on their side to make the next move and of course they have no incentive to do that Because EU lost It’s leverage by accepting a divided i...
Why don't the Greek cypriots go back to the motherland of Greece. The Turkish cypriots back to Turkey and then we can settle the Jews on Cyprus. That way the Palestinian people can have back the land stolen from them. everyone will be happy, ha ha ha...........
triple solution
This is fantastic news - long live the Turkish Cypriot State! I'm looking forward to the fruits of Plan B, this has been long overdue.
Turkey intervened in Cyprus legally under the terms of treaty signed by Greece, Turkey and Great Britain to stop the massacre of the Turkish Cypriots by Samson and his brutes. If the presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus is going to prevent Turkey from accession to EU, it may be for the best. EU is a...
Methinks it would be in the best interests of all concerned, if Turkey encouraged a few hundred thousand Turks in Cyprus to move to Turkey, apologized to Greek Cypriots for invading their island with such ferocious force resulting in so much death and destruction and offered compensation to the vict...
The indigenous and very Christian Cypriots were NEVER interested in unification with a country like Turkey so forget about it! The only option on offer are UN Resolutions 353 (1974) and 541 (1983).
It's more than clear that GCs are just playing games and are not interested in unification. Because they still believe that the whole island will be given to them one day as a present. They did the same mistake between 1963-1974. They offered and then tried to force their terms on the Constitution a...
C. Emre Gülsever
There is a very simple solution. Turks must go back to Central Asia.
Christoph@ You belong to a nation which is bankrupt 10 times over, you haven’t got any choice but stay on sinking ship and pay your debts for next 40 years., EU and EURO end is in horizon, take my word. Mighty Turkey will march on 80 Million populations which 35 million of them under 30 years of ag...
This movement away from the "zero problems" doctrine is an epic fail. This damages the prestige of all involved. At a time when nations are maturing and dialogue and cooperation between former enemies is becoming the norm this failure to reunify Cyprus makes both people look uncivilized and ignorant...
Herb Elliot
Greek and Turkish Cypriots (not Anatolian settlers or 45k Turkish troops) lived side by side peacefully on Cyprus for centuries, since the Ottomans invaded in the 1500s. The Greek presencevon Cyprus dates back to at least the second millenium B.C., and has been a constant on the island since then, t...
The Greek Cypriots want nothing less than the entire island! The more cravin they have for this the more they help our cause for a TWO STATE CYPRUS.
Christopias has nothing left to offer Turkish Cypriots other than a minority citizenship under his stolen regime. Not even a donkey will except such pathetic bargaining. The man is a waste of space.
It's over. Permanent partition. Turkey gets its military base in the north, the UK gets it's base in the south, ditto..!! Move on now, its finished. RIP RoC 1960 - 2012
A tuna
The train has left the station. Two states exist, de facto, on Cyprus, and this has been true for two generations. The failure of the independence movement of the 1950s to build a truly Cypriot, as opposed to Greek or Turkish Cypriot, national identity doomed unification from the start. Better to...
Its about time !!!! only solution is to division of the island and at the end southern cyprus is gonna be the biggest looser. northern cyprus will be recognized one of or another and Turkey will take her part in EU
christoph is trippin...who voted pro Annan plan and who voted against with big banners. dont try to change reality. and turkish troops are defending the rights of turks on the island of cypress. go and read
It's pointless to expect the thief to return the stolen property voluntarily. Turkey will never return north Cyprus to it's rightful owners until punitive measures are taken.
Turkey continues to believe it's 'importance' as a nation in a troubled region means it doesn't have to abide by international law on Cyprus. Word for the Turks, you are not above the law.
Metin, Turkey has been 'focussing on forming it's own Turkish state on Cyprus' for 38 years, that is nothing new. The problem is, nobody else has accepted Ethnic Cleansing and property theft as jusitification for creating a new state. The Serbs couldn't do it in Kosovo, Turkey will not be able to do...
I don`t think anybody in Turkey really cares abt its EU membership. Its economy would only be paralysed with it. Whats dead is any hope of reconciliation. Turkey should organise a plebiscite internationally monitored and with Turkish Cypriots voting on several choices.
Why would the TRNC join the bankrupt backwards and immoral occupied South Cyprus. The south should wish to join with the TRNC and unify with Turkey.
The status quo will continue, since Turkey refuses to accept the illegality of it's occupation of north Cyprus. Turkey's EU accession is finished.
Turks and Greeks cannot live together on such a small island where there are so many disputes over land, race and history. It is doomed for failure. The Greek side is not interested in unification and this is why they voted against the Annan plan. Turkey should forget unification and focus on formin...
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