UN Secretary-General Guterres to oversee intra-Cypriot talks in Geneva

The UN will host informal intra-Cypriot discussions today in Geneva. Today’s talks seek to restart stalled unification negotiations, years after

Cyprus

Photo: AFP

The UN will host informal intra-Cypriot discussions today in Geneva.

Today’s talks seek to restart stalled unification negotiations, years after previous attempts to resolve the disputes between the internationally recognized, predominantly Greek Republic of Cyprus and the unofficial Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) collapsed. TRNC officials clashed with Greek Cypriot representatives over Turkish settlements in the TRNC, as well as over freedom of movement throughout a prospective unified state.

In the interim, the diplomatic positions of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities have diverged. Last October, TRNC leadership formally retracted support for a unified Cypriot confederation, calling instead for a two-state solution. Greek Cypriot officials maintain that partition is unacceptable. Further, because of Cyprus’ growing hydrocarbon potential, the TRNC’s patron—Turkey—is increasingly invested in asserting its claim to Cypriot waters.

Expect initial talks to emphasize areas of minimal political weight, including reopening inter-communal checkpoints closed during the pandemic. The parties will likely make progress on such issues, possibly reengaging both sides towards reconciliation. Yet, an agreement remains unlikely in the medium-term. Both communities’ leaders remain far apart on proposed final settlements, and Turkish pressure to avoid concessions in the Eastern Mediterranean will likely harden the TRNC’s negotiating position.

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