Turkish Cypriot President Ersin Tatar on Monday met with the outgoing head of the UN peacekeeping force on Cyprus.
Canadian diplomat Elizabeth Spehar, who has served as the force’s head since June 2016 and will leave her post at the end of September, paid a farewell visit to Tatar in Lefkosa, the Turkish Cypriot capital.
Tatar thanked Spehar for her contributions towards reconciliation on the island and her support for the work of the bilateral technical committees.
Tatar told reporters that during the meeting he again laid out the position of the Turkish Cypriot side on the Cyprus issue, namely that any solution must be based on two sovereign, equal nations on the island.
Tatar noted that next week he will travel to New York to hold various talks, including with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as part of UN General Assembly meetings.
“I told Spehar that there is no change, and there will be none, in the position of the Turkish Cypriot side. Considering the realities of Cyprus, what we seek from the international community and the UN is the acceptance of an agreement on the basis of equality,” Tatar said.
Spehar, for her part, thanked Tatar and his team for their cooperation during her tenure.
Spehar expressed hope that Tatar’s meeting with Guterres will yield a positive result.
The 76th session of the General Assembly will open on Sept. 14, and the first day of the high-level General Debate will be Sept. 21.
Cyprus has been mired in a decades-long dispute between Greek and Turkish Cypriots, despite a series of diplomatic efforts by the UN to achieve a comprehensive settlement.
Ethnic attacks starting in the early 1960s forced Turkish Cypriots to withdraw into enclaves for their safety.
In 1974, a Greek Cypriot coup aimed at Greece’s annexation led to Turkey’s military intervention as a guarantor power to protect Turkish Cypriots from persecution and violence. As a result, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) was founded in 1983.