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Eide to meet leaders on Thursday ahead of farewell reception (Updated)

UN Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide will meet President Nicos Anastasiades and  Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci separately on Thursday morning ahead of his farewell reception later that evening, it was announced on Monday.

It was also confirmed that Akinci would be attending the reception.  Anastasiades has not confirmed that he will be there. If he goes, it will be the first time the leaders will be in the same place since the talks collapsed on July 7.

Eide’s visit to Cyprus this week will be his last as he officially leaves the post to pursue election in his home country. Eide’s office has already sent out invitations to diplomats and military and police officials to his farewell reception on Thursday.

Eide had confirmed in an interview to daily Politis that he would be departing to pursue election in Norway in September, but had declined to say when he would actually leave.

But although the Norwegian diplomat is not scheduled to return to Cyprus again in his role as special adviser to the UN secretary-general, he will remain in the post for the time being as he and his team draft the report on the Cyprus peace talks to the Security Council.

Eide took over the post in August 2014, following a breakthrough that resulted in the February 2014 joint declaration by the two leaders in Cyprus. He replaced Australian diplomat Alexander Downer.

He managed to bring the two sides closer than ever before on many of the outstanding issues and brokered two international conferences and three bilateral sessions in Switzerland, but was unable to catalyse what he frequently referred to as the “last mile”, which he acknowledged was the most difficult.

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