UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim attend a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 10, 2017. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday expressed their optimism for a breakthrough solution in the near future to the Cyprus issue that would satisfy both communities. (Xinhua/He Canling)
ISTANBUL, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday expressed their optimism for a breakthrough solution in the near future to the Cyprus issue that would satisfy both communities.
"The efforts of the guarantor powers will allow for a breakthrough in the near future, a breakthrough able to fully respect the concerns of the Turkish Cypriot community about the security, but at the same time compatible with the concerns of the Greek Cypriot community," the UN chief told reporters following a meeting with Yildirim in Istanbul.
The Turkish premier said security and guarantees are indispensable issues at the Cyprus talks.
"The important point is to secure the future of the Turkish Cypriot people," he reiterated Turkey's stand at the talks.
A landmark conference was held in Geneva on Jan. 12, when the three guarantor powers -- Britain, Greece and Turkey -- attended talks aimed at bringing peace to Cyprus by establishing a united and bi-zonal federation on the island.
The talks, however, stalled over the security and guarantee issue as the parties could not agree on the fate of Turkish troops on the island.
Greece urged the Turkish troops to leave Cyprus, while Turkey insisted that a full withdrawal of its troops is something "out of the question."
"The two leaders of the two communities are meeting every week now and making progress in relation to the outstanding issues that need to be solved between the two communities," Guterres said in Istanbul.
He said the UN will be entirely at the disposal of the two Cypriot communities and of the guarantor powers "in the search for a solution that is acceptable for all."
The Greek and Turkish-Cypriot communities have been divided since 1974 with a UN buffer zone in between.
Cyprus is home to about 800,000 Greek Cypriots and 220,000 Turkish Cypriots. The 1974 invasion by Turkish troops displaced a total of some 200,000 Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
During the Geneva talks, the two communities exchanged maps setting out proposals for new boundaries, the first time they had taken such a step.
In Istanbul, Guterres also spoke of the Syrian talks in Geneva slated for Feb. 20, stressing that his organization is aiming for an "inclusive" representation.
"We want that representation to be inclusive of all the relevant parties from the opposition, both at the level of the armed groups and also the political components," he said. "That is absolutely essential."
The current Middle East tour will also take the UN chief to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Egypt.