Cyprus Mail

EU and UN officials due in Nicosia ahead of informal conference

File photo of the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute arriving at the Presidential Palace during a previous visit

EU and UN officials are expected in Cyprus in the coming days, ahead of the informal conference on Cyprus that will take place on April 27-29 in Geneva and this month’s European Council summit, during which EU leaders will discuss Turkey’s European course.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell and UNSG’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute will be arriving soon for meetings, while President Nicos Anastasiades will hold a teleconference on Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Director of the Press Office of the President of Cyprus Viktoras Papadopoulos told CNA that President Anastasiades has already sent in writing his acceptance letter regarding the invitation for the informal conference. In it he had stressed to the UN Secretary-General his commitment, readiness, determination and political will to contribute to the conference’s goal of resuming the Cyprus talks from the point they were left, on the basis of UN resolutions and decisions, EU values and principles, the High Level Agreements and the Guterres Framework for the transformation of the Republic of Cyprus into a viable and functional bizonal, bicommunal federation, within the parameters agreed in Berlin on November 25, 2019 that were reflected in the announcement of the Secretary General.

Papadopoulos said that President Anastasiades will have a teleconference with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday. Main topics of discussion will be the Cyprus issue and the upcoming informal conference on Cyprus, convened by the UN Secretary General and the preparation for a success prospect of this meeting to find common ground to resume the Cyprus talks, as requested by the UN Secretary-General.

He also said that on Friday, March 5, Borrell will be visiting Cyprus and will hold a meeting with President Anastasiades. He will also meet with Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides. During his stay, the EU High Representative will also meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader.

The focus of the discussion will be the informal conference on Cyprus and how the EU will contribute to its success, since the EU wants and can contribute, Papadopoulos told CNA. He added that during the discussions with Merkel and Borrell they will also discuss the European Council meeting to take place on March 25 and 26, during which the EU-Turkish relations will be assessed.

The President of the Republic wants to examine the issue of Turkey’s acceptance and implementation of international law and European principles and values and the fulfillment of its EU obligations towards the EU member states as well as its contribution to the settlement of the Cyprus problem, he added.

On Sunday March 7, the UNSG’s envoy Jane Holl Lute will be in Cyprus to be received in the morning by President Anastasiades. She will also meet with the Turkish Cypriot leader to prepare the informal meeting.

Concluding, Papadopoulos recalled the visits of other officials in Cyprus, as the Greek Prime Minister, the British Foreign Secretary, the discussions of President Anastasiades with the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, the French President, and the visit of the Cyprus President in Israel.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively. The UN Secretary-General invited all parties involved to attend an informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 to 29 April 2021.

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