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Guterres open to listening to new ideas if both sides have a common vision

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday his mandate from the UN Security Council refers explicitly to a bizonal, bicommunal solution in Cyprus, but this was not an impediment to the parties presenting the positions they will present.

“It is my intention to convene early March a meeting of the 5+1. That meeting we decided to be an informal meeting without precondition… There are these changes in the administration of northern Cyprus. It is important that there is a chance for all the people to frankly discuss among themselves how they see the future and to see how to move forward,” he said.

Guterres was replying to a question from a Turkish journalist, about the 5+1 meeting, which is due to take place in March with New York being the preferred spot.

The UN chief was asked whether he would insist on a bizonal, bicommunal federation going forward in line with previous Cyprus negotiations, or if he was open to new ideas, like that of Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar who has been promoting a two-state solution.

Guterres said that he has a mandate from the Security Council for UN involvement in relation to the negotiations. This mandate, he noted, refers explicitly to a bizonal, bicommunal solution.

“Obviously this is not an impediment for the parties to present the positions they will present. I am always ready to go to the SC and if there is an agreement of the parties enlarging the scope of the negotiations, to be interpreted as a common agreement in this regard,” he added.

He pointed out that the first step is to bring the parties together; to listen to them, to see the result of that discussion.

“And the fact that Ι stick to the mandate I received doesn’t mean that I am not open to listen to everybody, to take the conclusions of that discussion based on whatever the parties come to a common view about the future,” he concluded.

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