There is no "common ground" between rival Cypriots, the foreign affairs chief of the island's breakaway Turkish-backed statelet said Wednesday, ahead of new UN efforts to revive talks on the island's future.
UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for informal meetings next month to breathe life into long stalled negotiations that seek to establish "common ground" for a lasting solution.
But Tahsin Ertugruloglu, foreign affairs minister of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, told AFP on Wednesday that "there is no common ground".
"There cannot be a common ground so long as we're treated unequally as we have been all these years," he said in an interview.
Hit by intercommunal violence in the 1950s and 1960s, Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-backed coup aimed at unifying the island with Greece.
The TRNC later declared independence, but depends heavily on Turkey, which is the only nation to recognise it.
A UN-controlled buffer zone separates the breakaway state from areas controlled by EU member the Republic of Cyprus.
Negotiations for a solution have repeatedly failed, with the last round stalling in 2017.
After decades of negotiations based on the idea of reunifying the island through the creation of a federal state, Ertugruloglu said that approach should be abandoned in favour of a two-state solution.
That is in line with the stance of the new leader of the statelet, pro-Turkish nationalist Ersin Tatar.
Tatar was elected in October on a hardline platform, seeking a two-state solution, a policy backed by Turkey.
Ertugruloglu on Wednesday also rejected calls by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades in January for the European Union to play a role in the discussions, which in the past have also involved Turkey, Greece and former colonial power Britain.
The EU has never recognised the partition of Cyprus, seeing the entire island -- apart from its British military bases -- as territory of the Republic of Cyprus.
But the Turkish Cypriot diplomat was adamant.
The "EU has no place at the table," he said.