EU Mediterranean Leaders Press Turkey to End Cyprus Disputes
(Bloomberg) -- Leaders of nine Mediterranean countries called on Turkey to work with Cyprus to resolve disputes and condemned its “illegal actions” in the island’s fenced-off area of Varosha.
In a joint statement backed by French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and seven others, the group said states must “unequivocally abide by international legality” and refrain from “provocations.” The EU will use the “instruments and options” at its disposal to defend its interests and regional stability, they said after meeting in Athens on Friday.
“We reiterate our call on Turkey to accept the invitation by Cyprus to engage in dialogue on the delimitation of the maritime zones between their relevant coasts, including by submitting the issue to the International Court of Justice,” said the leaders, who also included top government officials of Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia and Slovenia.
In April, officials from Turkey, Greece and the U.K. -- guarantor powers under the agreement that ended British colonial rule in Cyprus -- joined top Greek-speaking and Turkish-speaking Cypriot politicians in Geneva for three days of talks that failed to agree on how to settle nearly five decades of division.
The Mediterranean island has been divided since Turkish forces captured its northern third in 1974, following an attempted coup inspired by the military junta then ruling in Athens that sought to unite the island with Greece.
Only Turkey recognizes the self-declared Turkish Cypriot state, while the Republic of Cyprus is a European Union member and officially has sovereignty over the entire island.
The leaders reaffirmed support for a “bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality” in Cyprus. “Therefore, proposals for a two-state solution are unacceptable,” they said.
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