Turkey’s foreign minister traded bars with his Greek Cypriot counterpart in an unexpected meeting on Monday after the latter raised the issue of forming a federation to resolve the Cyprus issue.
Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and Nikos Christodoulides bumped into each other at the United Nations in New York, according to reports.
“There is no other solution other than a bizonal, bicommunal federation. Let’s shake hands now that we agree and we can move on,” Christodoulides said.
Underlining that both sides cannot continue negotiating the Cyprus issue forever, "Your leader has rejected this solution in the past," Turkey’s foreign minister said in his turn.
"We have to first determine what we will negotiate. The two-state solution or something else?" Çavuşoğlu responded, refusing to shake hands.
He also noted the inconstancy of President Nicos Anastasiades on a resolution of Cyprus issue.
"Last time (at Crans Montana), your leader came forward with a confederation idea. Anastasiades talked about both a federation and confederation last year. We first have to openly discuss what it is that we will negotiate," he said.
Turkey has long supported efforts to solve the Cyprus issue, Çavuşoğlu added.
Turkish Foreign Minister and President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mustafa Akıncı convened in New York on Monday.
In the meeting between Çavuşoğlu and Mustafa Akıncı, Turkey's support to the TRNC was stressed and the latest developments in the region were discussed.
In 1974, following a coup aiming at Cyprus’ annexation by Greece, Ankara had to intervene as a guarantor power. In 1983, the TRNC was founded.
The decades since have seen several attempts to resolve the dispute, all ending in failure. The latest one, held with the participation of the guarantor countries -- Turkey, Greece, and the U.K. -- ended in 2017 in Switzerland.
In 2004, in twin referendums, the plan of then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan was accepted by Turkish Cypriots but rejected by Greek Cypriots.
Talks have focused on a federal model, based on the political equality of the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides, but Greek Cypriots’ rejection of such a solution, including the Annan plan, led to the emergence of other models.