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Cyprus Talks

UN official ‘touches base’ with parties over Cyprus talks

UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar with Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos on Wednesday

 

UN Special Representative and head of Unficyp, Elizabeth Spehar is carrying out a round of contacts with political parties on the island to “touch base”, she said on Wednesday.

Spehar was speaking after meeting Diko leader Nicolas Papadopoulos in Nicosia. She said she was meeting with the parties to “see how they see the current situation and touch base, and I hope to be doing that in the coming period”.
Commenting on possible moves on the Cyprus talks following the elections in Turkey on Sunday, Spehar said: “The SG [Antonio Guterres] announced in his last report that he will be conducting consultations with all the parties and for the UN that will be the next step,” she said.
Asked what that might be, the UN official added: “I would say in this coming period, soon.”
According to the advance copy of the secretary-general report on Cyprus, Guterres said he believed there was still scope for the sides to act responsibly and decisively in order to chart a common way forward for the island.
Guterres also said that in the coming period, he intended to send a senior UN official to conduct in-depth consultations with the parties.

“The consultations will provide a more formal, structured, and detailed channel for the parties to convey to the United Nations the outcomes of their reflection since Crans-Montana and to help determine whether conditions have or have not matured at this stage for a meaningful process. I encourage the parties to recognise the importance of this exercise and to seize the opportunity accordingly,” he said in his report last week.
On Tuesday night, speaking at an event, Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said if the two sides could agree on the six points in Guterres’ framework, which the UN chief tabled at Crans-Montana before the talks collapsed last summer, the negotiations would arrive at a point where the possibility of a solution of the Cyprus problem would reach a point of no return. Christodoulides welcomed the UNSG’s recent report and his intention to send a senior official.

Commenting on the possibility of a new Conference on Cyprus, the minister said the government was hoping an initiative would be launched as soon as possible and that a new conference would lead to a positive outcome or in the words of the UNSG, a “strategic agreement”, which would be the point of no return.

He said Guterres believes that if there is an agreement on the six points, the remaining issues, would not be big enough to derail an overall agreement.
“If an agreement is reached on the six points of the UN Secretary-General, we think that, yes, we will arrive at a point where the possibility of a solution of the Cyprus problem cannot be overturned,” he said.
He declined to comment on the Turkish elections saying only that he hoped Ankara would be able to see the numerous benefits from reaching a Cyprus solution, including EU, energy and cooperating with neighbouring countries.


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