The Republic of Cyprus has agreed to the appointment of American Jane Holl Lute by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as a temporary envoy to feel out prospects for the resumption of Cyprus talks, sources within the UN said on Wednesday.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, which cites sources within the UN, the request from the secretary-general’s office to the five interested parties – Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots and guarantors Greece, Turkey and the UK – was sent on Tuesday night, but not all responses have yet been received. Daily Politis, also citing sources, said that the Turkish Cypriots have also accepted Lute’s appointment.
The US former UN official is to be appointed as a temporary personal envoy of Guterres.
Guterres is reportedly pondering whether to launch the fact-finding mission right away, or wait until after the elections in Turkey in June.
The secretary-general’s office has reiterated however that there are currently no plans to appoint a full special adviser to the secretary-general. The last special adviser was Norwegian diplomat Espen Barth Eide.
Responding to a written question by CNA, deputy spokesman for the secretary-general Farhan Haq recalled that “upon the closing of the Conference on Cyprus last year, the secretary-general encouraged all parties to reflect in order to determine whether the conditions would mature again for a meaningful process in the near future.”
“The UN is in contact with the parties to determine a way to seek the outcomes of their reflections and their views on the way forward,” Haq said.
If the UN feels the talks can go ahead, Guterres would then appoint a special adviser to facilitate the negotiations.
The move to appoint an envoy comes after Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci said on Monday he was ready to accept the Guterres framework and called on President Anastasiades to do the same.
Anastasiades welcomed the statement as positive but asked for clarification, especially from Turkey on the issues of security, guarantees and troops.
Jane Holl Lute has serviced in various senior UN positions and was also the US deputy secretary for Homeland Security from 2009 through 2013. In February 2016, she was appointed by the UN as Special Coordinator on Improving the United Nations Response to Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.