Europe

Turkish Cypriots offer two-state plan at UN talks, dismissed by Greek Cypriots

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Cypriot President and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab,Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias talk during a meeting at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland April 28, 2021.Stavros Ioannides/PIO/Handout via REUTERS

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GENEVA, April 28 (Reuters) - The Turkish Cypriot delegation to U.N.-sponsored talks proposed a two-state solution for Cyprus on Wednesday to end the conflict with Greek Cypriots and put the island's two communities on an equal footing, but it was swiftly rejected by the Greek Cypriot side.

The Mediterranean island was split in 1974 between a Greek Cypriot south and a Turkish Cypriot north. Only Turkey recognises the breakaway state in Northern Cyprus.

The proposal was presented at informal talks with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Geneva, who had urged both sides to "be creative" after a four-year stalemate in peace negotiations. L1N2MK1O3

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The foreign ministers of Greece, Turkey and Britain are also taking part as guarantor nations in the two-day talks.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, who presented the plan, told Reuters earlier this week that he hoped his proposal for a two-state solution will bring a "new vision" to the talks, despite its prior rejection by Greek Cypriots. read more

"The Turkish Cypriot proposal is aimed at establishing a cooperative relationship between the two States on the island based on their inherent sovereign equality and equal international status," the Turkish Cypriot proposal said.

It called on Guterres to take an initiative leading to the U.N. Security Council adopting a resolution securing the equal international status and sovereign equality of the two sides.

On that basis, negotiations would follow under his auspices on the future relationship between the two independent states, focusing on property, security and "border adjustment", it said.

Any agreement reached would be submitted for approval in simultaneous referenda in the two states, it added.

But Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades, who serves as president of the island's internationally-recognised government, said that the proposal was a "great disappointment".

"Of course I have told the Secretary-General that our attempt was to create a positive climate, without provocations, without any references to whatever unacceptable (things) we heard. I have also told the Secretary-General that we will submit, in writing, our own positions,” he said in a statement.

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Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge in Geneva and Michele Kambas in Nicosia; writing by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Toby Chopra

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