FM Çavuşoğlu: Cyprus failure reveals impossibility of solution within UN parameters

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Friday that the outcome of the Cyprus talks showed the "impossibility of a solution within the parameters of the U.N. Good Offices mission."

"This outcome shows that within the U.N. Good Offices mission's parameters a resolution cannot be found. There is no meaning left in continuing within these parameters," Çavuşoğlu claimed. He added that the talks' collapse was owed to Greek and Greek Cypriot insistence that Ankara pull out all Turkish troops from the island and military intervention rights be abolished.

"For Turkey and Turkish Cyprus it is not acceptable for troops to be withdrawn," he told reporters.

Ankara reiterated its determined stance on continuing with a positive approach for a solution on the island amid the latest failure of the ongoing Cyprus reunification talks.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara on Friday, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said that Turkey will continue efforts for a solution, but that it is also "not the end of the world" if a solution is not reached.

"We will always continue constructive efforts if a permanent and a fair solution is wanted. If it does not happen, it is also not the end of the world. Life goes on. What we do in Turkish Cyprus will continue from now on, too," Yıldırım said.

Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akıncı said the talks ultimately ended negatively despite serious efforts. "It was possible to create a situation in which both sides could have won. It got very near to that point," he said.

Reunification talks between the Turkish and Greek leaders of Cyprus ended early Friday without a deal, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, extinguishing hopes that the 40-year conflict would be resolved soon.

"I am deeply sorry to inform you that, despite the very strong commitment and the engagement of all the delegations and the different parties … the conference on Cyprus was closed without an agreement," Guterres said after the final, marathon session in the Swiss mountain resort of Crans-Montana.

The last-gasp effort began Thursday morning and ended Friday at 3 a.m., ending 10 days of talks.

Guterres had flown in on Thursday to press Greek and Turkish Cypriots to seal a deal reuniting the Eastern Mediterranean island, and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence phoned to urge them to "seize this historic opportunity."

Asked whether the talks would continue, Guterres said: "The conference is closed ... that doesn't mean that other initiatives cannot be developed."

The minister for Europe from former colonial power Britain, Alan Duncan, participated in the talks, and he as well as Greek and Turkish officials also hinted at continued negotiations.

"This is a disappointing outcome. The U.K. continues to be a strong supporter of a settlement. Now is a time for calm reflection and consideration of future steps. The commitment of the U.K. to a deal on Cyprus remains unwavering," Duncan said.

"The dream of resolving the Cyprus question remains alive," Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias said.

His Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, pledged to "continue efforts to find a resolution under different parameters."Although many issues remain unresolved, the island's future security remains a primary stumbling block to an overall accord. The issue revolves around the more than 35,000 troops that Turkey has kept in the island's breakaway Turkish Cypriot north since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turkish population, and Ankara's military intervention as a guarantor power. Greek Cypriots perceive the Turkish soldiers as a threat and want them all gone. The island's Turkish Cypriots, however, want them to stay as protectors.

A U.N.-brokered peace deal was approved by Turkish Cypriots in 2004, but was rejected by Greek Cypriot voters in a referendum.

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