Tatar and Christodoulides came together at informal meeting
Date Added: 23 February 2023

President Ersin Tatar and the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Christodoulides came together today for a informal meeting.

It was first meeting between the two, since Christodoulides’ election as the new Greek Cypriot leader following last week’s elections held in South Cyprus.

President Ersin Tatar and the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader Nikos Christodoulides held their first meeting on Thursday, an informal gathering which lasted for nearly two hours.

The two met face-to-face at the residence of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative to Cyprus Colin Stewart in the UN controlled buffer zone.

A short statement issued by the UN after the meeting said that the two leaders had met for the first time under the auspices of the Deputy Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Cyprus, Mr. Colin Stewart.

“They had an informal discussion which was open and constructive. Mr. Christodoulides and Mr. Tatar addressed several issues, including the recent devastating earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria that claimed thousands of lives, amongst them Turkish Cypriots, and they expressed their sympathy for the victims and their families,” the statement read.

Also speaking to reporters upon his return to the Presidential Palace, President Ersin Tatar said that the informal meeting with the newly elected Greek Cypriot leader had passed in a cordial atmosphere during which various issues had been discussed.

He said both he and the Greek Cypriot leader had responsibilities towards their own respective peoples but that there were also realities on the island which needed to be taken into account.

He however added that there was always room for dialogue and cooperation on the island.

“Within this framework I proposed that we cooperate and work together for an earthquake response in Cyprus which the Greek Cypriot leader responded positively to,” he said.

Tatar pointed out that the Turkish Cypriot side had extensive experience in earthquake response which it would be happy to share with the Greek Cypriot side.

On the Cyprus Issue, Tatar said that he had conveyed to his Greek Cypriot counterpart that any settlement to be reached in Cyprus needed to be based on the realities on the island, that there are two separate states and sovereign peoples in Cyprus.

He said that new negotiations could not begin until the sovereign equality of the Turkish Cypriot people was recognised.

The president said that 50 years of failed negotiations aimed at reaching a federal settlement had revealed the need to adopt a new approach and vision.

“That is why we are advocating a two-state solution,” he stressed.

Tatar said he had also raised the issue of economic embargoes and isolations imposed on Turkish Cypriots.

“Nevertheless, today’s meeting was an informal one, aimed at getting acquainted,” he added.

Tatar concluded his remarks by thanking the UN Special Representative to Cyprus Colin Stewart for hosting the meeting and expressed his readiness to meet with the Greek Cypriot leader in the near future.