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UNSG envoy Lute to launch contacts soon on Cyprob – reports

Jane Holl Lute

UN Secretary-general’s special envoy, Jane Holl Lute, is expected to launch contacts with the two leaders and guarantors end of next month as part of preparations for a new round of consultations on the Cyprus problem, reports said on Sunday.

According to daily Simerini, this is the first step of Antonio Guterres’ road map on the resumption of talks.

The daily, citing information, reports that, as a first step, Lute will repeat her mission with contacts with all stakeholders – the two leaders and the three guarantors: Greece, Turkey and UK – at the end of October.

Next a preparatory meeting is reportedly expected in December or January along the same lines as that in Crans-Montana in 2017 in which the island’s two community leaders, the guarantors, Lute and Guterres will participate. The aim is to make sure the procedure will not lead to another dead-end.

If an agreement is reached at the preparatory meeting, as a third step, the procedure for the substantive negotiations will be launched, the daily reported. At this stage, Guterres is expected to appoint a new special advisor on Cyprus.

The final step is the substantive negotiations; a conference with the same composition as in Crans-Montana but this time, the presence of the guarantor powers’ prime ministers too will be arranged, according to the paper. During the talks in Crans-Montana in Switzerland, the prime ministers of the three guarantors did not participate. The guarantors’ foreign ministers were discussing the international aspects of the Cyprus problem, security and guarantees, while the prime ministers were to be called in if there was breakthrough.

Guterres had separate telephone conversations with the two leaders earlier this week.

President Nicos Anastasiades spoke with Guterres via teleconference on Wednesday night and expressed his readiness to resume talks on the Cyprus problem after elections in the north next month.

Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said this week during an interview with state broadcaster CyBC TV that Guterres told Anastasiades he was ready to take action right after the elections in the north, slated to take place on October 11.

Anastasiades told Guterres he was ready to pick up where talks left-off in Crans-Montana and based on what was agreed in Berlin with Guterres and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci in November last year. He stressed, however, that for constructive talks to take place Turkey must stop its illegal actions in Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone and threats as regards opening Varosha, Famagusta’s closed-off area.

Turkey, however, warned that it would initiate a new negotiation process for a two-state solution unless Greek Cypriots agreed to political equality between the island’s two communities.

It said that a resumption of the process did not mean things would start from where they stayed in Crans-Montana, arguing that there was no common ground and vision for a solution between the two sides on the island.

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