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Guterres will send deputy to scope out prospects for talks   

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President Nicos Anastasiades with UNSG Antonio Guterres in New York on Friday (Photo: UN)

United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres on Friday agreed to send a deputy to Cyprus on a fact-finding mission to help with ongoing efforts to jump-start stagnant talks for a solution to the long-running division on the island.

Speaking after a meeting with Guterres on the sidelines a few hours following his address to the UN General Assembly, President Nicos Anastasiades told reporters in New York that Guterres, “wanting to keep alive the prospect of a dialogue”, gave instructions for Assistant Secretary-General Mrs Rosemary di Carlo visit Cyprus in the autumn on a fact-finding mission.

Anastasiades said that the UNSG implied that despite the objections from Turkey, and in wanting to keep the prospect of a dialogue alive, Guterres gave the instructions even though it was clear that Turkey was totally opposed to any initiative at all.

“During the meeting with the Secretary-General, the brief meeting, there was specific reference to what was agreed last year, namely the appointment of a representative, either a special or a personal envoy,” Anastasiades said in his media statement at UN headquarters.

A special envoy is normally appointed when there are plans for talks. A UNSG personal envoy, such as Jane Holl Lute, is sent on fact-finding missions and to engage separately with the two sides in order to scope out prospects for talks.

Meanwhile, in response to the speech made by Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan at the General Assembly, Anastasiades said that it was clear during Erdogan’s speech how important the role of propaganda and the use of misleading statements was.

“As I have pointed out during my speech, unfortunately, what is said about respect for international law is nothing but the interpretation that Mr Erdogan himself or the Turks give to international law. And I have made specific references, possibly indicative, because it is not the only violation of the UN Charter and international law, but also the threats against Greece…on the Cyprus issue, the invasion of Syria, always for the sake of ‘good neighbourliness’… the violation of Iraq’s sovereignty, the intervention in Libya, in Nagorno Karabakh,” Anastasiades added.

The meeting with Guterres which lasted about 15 minutes, was also attended by Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, government spokesman Marios Pelekanos, Greek Cypriot Negotiator Menelaos Menelaou, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Ambassador Andreas Hadjichrysanthou and the Director of the president’s office, Pantelis Pantelides.

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