Cyprus Mail
Divided Island

A Chronology: A timeline of UN’s Cyprus diplomacy

This is one of a series of articles from our new feature ‘Background briefing: The Divided Island‘. It is a comprehensive interactive information guide on the Cyprus problem which we are publishing at this critical moment in the settlement negotiations. There is a menu bar to the full package to the right of this article. Just click on any of the items.


Some 25 UN special envoys and six secretary-generals have been involved in efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem over a period of more than half a century.

You can read a lively Cyprus Mail account about the work of these ‘facilitators’ and who they were under the title: Exhuming the diplomats’ graveyard

Other diplomats stationed in Cyprus may not have been directly involved in the negotiations but they also have had tales to tell though not many have put pen to paper like former Swedish Ambassador Ingemar Lindahl who published his account in early 2019 titled ‘A diplomat who survived the Cyprob graveyard’

Below is a chronological list of the of the names and nationalities of UN secretary-generals’ special representatives — also known as Unficyp chiefs of mission — and special advisers. Their terms may overlap in some instances.

  • Sakari Tuomioia, Finland
  • Galo Plaza Lasso, Ecuador
  • Carlos Bernardes, Brazil
  • Pier P Spinelli, Italy
  • Bibiano Osorio-Tafall, Spain
  • Luis Weckmann-Munoz, Mexico
  • Javier Perez de Cuellar, Peru
  • Remy Gorge, Switzerland
  • Reynaldo Galindo Pohl, El Salvador
  • Hugo Gobbi, Argentina
  • James Holger, Chile
  • Oscar Camilion, Argentina
  • Joe Clark, Canada
  • Gustave Feissel, US
  • Han Sung-Joo, Korea
  • Diego Cordovez, Ecuador
  • Dame Ann Hercus, New Zealand
  • James Holger, Chile (second term)
  • Alvaro de Soto, Peru
  • Zbigniew Wlosowicz, Poland
  • Michael Moller, Denmark
  • Elizabeth Spehar, Canada
  • Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Ethiopia
  • Alexander Downer, Australia
  • Lisa Buttenheim, US
  • Elizabeth Spehar, Canada


Below is a list of the UN Secretaries-General who held office since the UN’s peacekeeping force, Unficyp, was established in March 1964.


  • U Thant, Burma
  • Kurt Waldheim, Austria
  • Javier Perez de Cuellar, Peru
  • Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egypt
  • Kofi Annan, Ghana
  • Ban Ki-moon, South Korea
  • Antonio Guterres, Portugal