The project of reunifying Cyprus, an island divided since 1974, long in stasis, has become dramatically more difficult in recent years. Amid broader regional tensions and increasing militarisation of the eastern Mediterranean, relations between Greek and Turkish Cypriots have soure, and prospects for a comprehensive settlement have dimmed. Through its field research, analytical reports and advocacy, Crisis Group aims to identify ways to mitigate the damage of a hardening divide, inform policymakers on both sides of the island and regional actors about shared concerns, recommend ways to stop frictions from heightening further, and create mutual benefits.

CrisisWatch Cyprus

Unchanged Situation

UN personal envoy carried on with diplomacy in bid to find common ground aimed at returning to formal talks.

UN Sec-Gen’s Personal Envoy to Cyprus Maria Holguin Cuellar conducted third round of visits to stakeholder countries since Jan. After meetings in Turkish capital Ankara 6 May, Holguin said Turkish FM Hakan Fidan was “willing to listen with an open mind”. Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar 8 May refused to hold trilateral meeting with Holguin and Republic of Cyprus President Christodoulides unless “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” (“TRNC”) is considered separate and sovereign entity. After briefly meeting Tatar 13 May, Holguin expressed her surprise at Tatar’s refusal to entertain trilateral meetings and reiterated her wish to pursue formal talks until end of her mandate in July. Holguin 13 May met Greek FM Gerapetritis in Greek capital Athens who said Greece was exerting all its influence to bring about trilateral meeting on Cyprus. Tatar 15 May revealed he insisted on “direct flights, direct trade and direct contact” in addition to recognition of “TRNC’s” equal sovereignty as preconditions for return to formal talks. Christodoulides 15 May said sole aim of his govt was return to talks.

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