New Ideas Needed on Cyprob: Alexander Downer

Alexander Downer - President Tatar
[Alexander Downer – President Ersin Tatar]
President Ersin Tatar met with Alexander Downer, former Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and former Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus, at the Presidency on Friday. The meeting included the Special Representative of the President, Güneş Onar, and their respective delegations.

President Tatar expressed his pleasure at Mr. Downer’s visit to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), noting Downer’s six years of service as a Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Cyprus starting from July 2008.

President Tatar remarked that Mr. Downer is well-positioned to provide an objective assessment of the Cyprus issue, given his involvement in previous negotiation processes. He highlighted the failure to reach a settlement following the Greek Cypriot rejection of the UN Comprehensive Settlement (Annan) Plan of 2004, which the Turkish Cypriot side had accepted in separately held simultaneous referenda.

Quoting former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s report, President Tatar emphasised that the Greek Cypriot side had not only rejected a plan but had also rejected a solution. He pointed out that despite their vote against the solution, Greek Cypriots were accepted into the EU just a week later in May 2004. He lamented that promises by the international community to end the isolation and restrictions on the Turkish Cypriot side have not been fulfilled, resulting in continued prohibitions on direct flights and direct trade, which he sees as violations of their human rights.

President Tatar also discussed the collapse of the last negotiation attempt on a federal basis in Crans-Montana in July 2017. He attributed the failure to the Greek Cypriot side’s refusal to share power and prosperity with the Turkish Cypriot people on an equal basis in a federal partnership.

Elected on a two-state platform, President Tatar reiterated that Turkish Cypriots are peace-loving and civilised people who understand why a settlement has not been reached. He said his election reflects their support for his vision of sovereign equality and equal international status for the Turkish Cypriot side. He proposed a new, realistic, and sustainable vision where the two sides can coexist as neighbours in a cooperative relationship.

President Tatar welcomed Mr. Downer to the TRNC and acknowledged his past efforts to help the two sides reach a settlement in Cyprus.

Following the meeting, Mr. Downer expressed his delight at returning to Cyprus and the TRNC and having the opportunity to meet with the President. He mentioned their discussion on the Cyprus problem and its future direction.

Reflecting on his six years of efforts to help the sides reach a settlement, Mr. Downer stated, “My view is that this is a time that requires fresh ideas. There is no point in continuing to repeat the same mantras of history. It is a time for imagination, creativity, and new ideas“.

Presidency of TRNC

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