The UN Secretary General’s new Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), Colin Stewart, arrives on the island early next week to assume his duties, as Elizabeth Spehar’s term of office as head of the UN mission in Cyprus ended on November 30. Stewart will also take on the role of Deputy to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus.
The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) has learned that the UNSG’s good offices mission in Cyprus has already requested the arrangement of several contacts which Stewart will have with officials and stakeholders on the island, after his arrival. The UN official is expected to hold meetings soon with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.
Stewart will also meet, during the next couple of weeks, among others, members of UNFICYP, ambassadors of foreign countries serving in Cyprus, and the members of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP).
A well-informed source told CNA that a press release about the meetings he will be having will be issued upon his arrival to the island.
The UN announced Stewart’s appointment on November 4. According to the UN, Stewart, who most recently served as Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) (2017-2021), brings a demonstrated record of leadership and management, with over 28 years of experience in peace and security and international affairs.
He previously served as Deputy Head and Chief of Staff of the United Nations Office to the African Union in Addis Ababa, and held appointments in several United Nations field missions, including as Acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Political Affairs at the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) (2007 to 2009). He was a Canadian diplomat from 1990 to 1997.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the island`s northern third. Numerous rounds of talks under UN aegis to reunite the island under a federal roof failed to yield results.