The United Nations are launching in Geneva their latest effort in the Cyprus Problem, with an informal 5+1 meeting starting Tuesday in search for common ground despite the two sides on the divided island having denounced each other’s official position.
The Greek Cypriot team led by President Nicos Anastasiades flew to Switzerland on Monday, with the Cyprus News Agency reporting that negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis met with UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute on Monday afternoon where they discussed procedural issues for the “Five Plus One” meeting.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is hosting the 5+1 informal meeting in Geneva between April 27 and 29 in order to ascertain whether common ground can be found to push ahead with peace talks to settle the Cyprus Problem.
Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, along with Cyprus’ guarantor countries Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, are taking part in the meeting. An EU official is also observing the process but not taking part in any official way.
'The legal experts escorting him in Geneva will elaborate on decentralization in more detail, if members of the national council want more clarifications'
Anastasiades, who flew to Switzerland on Monday, presided over a national council meeting in the evening, which was overshadowed by the passing of Vassos Lyssarides, a respected politician in Cyprus who died at 100. No new information emerged from the meeting according to Kathimerini Cyprus.
On Tuesday, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres will hear out Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, while both bilateral and trilateral meetings are scheduled to take place on Wednesday. Bilateral meetings will continue on Thursday when the summit is expected conclude with all five sides plus UN having a seat at the table.
Greek Cypriots are calling for resumption of talks based on a bizonal, bicommunal, federation which includes “political equality” while Turkish Cypriots have introduced “equal sovereignty” between two states.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has previously accused the other side of not being sincere in seeking dialogue on a federal agenda, while Greek Foreign Minister Nicos Dendias has made clear that a two-state solution was incompatible with the European Union, of which Greece and the Republic of Cyprus are members.
Loose federation chatter
Anastasiades in the past has made references to a loose federation model but reportedly declined to elaborate further days ahead of Geneva.
But CNA cited a source on Monday saying the issue of a de-centralized federation had come up during the meeting and Anastasiades expressed his position on the matter.
“The legal experts escorting him in Geneva will elaborate on this in more detail, if members of the national council want more clarifications,” a source said according to CNA.
In an interview to Kathimerini, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said the Greek Cypriot side was prepared to tackle a number of possible scenarios that could play out in Geneva.
Christodoulides, who did not rule out a “Turkey surprise” during the informal meeting, acknowledged that developments had not been positive
“A failure of the informal summit will be a negative thing for all participants,” Christodoulides warned.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is also taking part in the Geneva, has called on all sides to remain open and flexible.
“Tomorrow’s talks offer an opportunity to restart negotiations aimed at delivering a fair and lasting solution to the Cyprus issue, and we hope that all parties approach them with creativity and flexibility,” Raab said on Monday.