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Spain supports Cyprus’ EU-led talks revival push

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez vowed Tuesday during a visit to Cyprus to back its new president’s bid for a greater EU role in efforts to revive long-stalled peace talks.

Madrid “strongly supports” the reunification of Cyprus based on United Nations resolutions for a bizonal federation that ensures security and peace for Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Sanchez told journalists in Nicosia.

“We will take an initiative to restart the dialogue between the parties,” added Sanchez, whose country takes over the EU presidency on 1 July.

He made the commitment after talks with President Nikos Christodoulides, who has called for the European Union to be more involved in the peace process since being elected leader of Cyprus’s Greek Cypriots in February.

Cyprus has been divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway northern statelet set up after a Turkish invasion launched in 1974 in response to a coup sponsored by the military junta then ruling Greece.

Talks aimed at reunifying the eastern Mediterranean island have been stalled since a UN-led effort failed in 2017.

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar, a protege of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has urged the international community to “acknowledge the existence” of two states in Cyprus.

Sanchez’s visit to Cyprus is the first by a Spanish prime minister since 2009.

Christodoulides said he hoped Spain’s presidency of the 27-nation bloc, combined with its “very good relations with Turkey”, could lead to a breakthrough in the deadlock.

“We believe that it can also help our effort for more active, more effective EU involvement in efforts to end the impasse,” he said.

“Spain has particular sensitivities on matters of sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence,” added Christodoulides.

There have been no formal UN-sponsored peace talks regarding Cyprus since the last round collapsed at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in July 2017.

Christodoulides and Tatar had their first meeting in February. The Greek Cypriot leader described it as a courtesy call and said he wanted “nothing more than breaking the deadlock”.

Source: neoskosmos