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Guterres calls leaders to Berlin meeting on November 25

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci to a meeting in Berlin on November 25, the presidential palace announced on Friday evening.

The meeting is to be informal and is being held “in order to discuss the next steps in the Cyprus issue,” the announcement said.

“The president’s response was positive,” it added.

Almost immediately, Akinci’s spokesman Baris Burcu said the Turkish Cypriot leader’s response was also positive.

According to reports, the discussions in Berlin will be a way to lay down a framework for a potential five-party conference in December.

Earlier on Friday the government said the Greek Cypriot side had just been waiting for the time and place for the tripartite meeting, and that consultations with the UN Secretariat had been ongoing.

UN envoy Jane Holl Lute is also likely to visit before the tripartite, meeting, government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said.

Prodromou said the UN has made clear that the terms of reference needed to be agreed on. “Based on this, the president has always worked in a positive spirit with the UN,” he said.

Anastasiades, he said, was not negative to the possibility of some consultation with the guarantor powers in order to resume effective negotiations.

“Our side is seeking to restart negotiations on the well-known basis, which is the joint statement with which the negotiations began, the convergences, and the six points of the Secretary-General,” Prodromou said.

The two leaders had the opportunity to meet briefly on Thursday evening at a reception to mark the UN Day hosted by Secretary-General’s Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar at the Ledra Palace. After exchanging pleasantries and a short conversation, they also had a brief discussion with Spehar.

Spehar said in her speech during the event that the two leaders needed to redouble their efforts to conclude the terms of reference and return to the negotiations.

She said the leaders still had an opportunity to take a mutually acceptable solution to the finish line, but they will need to be ready to explain it to, and promote it with, their constituencies.

“The UN, including the Secretary-General himself, is ready to play its part. All parties will need to do the same,” she added.

Three years after the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, Spehar said, “Cypriots are still facing uncertainty about their future and concern about what will come next.”

She also warned that changes are happening with important implications on and around the island and at regional and global level making the current environment challenging.

Spehar posed the question “where do we see Cyprus in 2045, when the UN turns 100 years old?” to note that “the decisions that are taken now could determine the answer to that question.”

According to the UN diplomat, “while the leaders bear the primary responsibility for the talks and will need to redouble their efforts to conclude the terms of reference and return to negotiations, we should recall that successful peace processes tend to include multiple levels of engagement that help build the foundation for success. All Cypriots clearly have a stake in their own future here, and perhaps young people more than any.”

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