Cyprus Mail

‘Prospects for Cyprus settlement continue to fade’ Unficyp report details

Comment Koumoullis At Some Point Unficyp Will Withdraw

Unficyp deals with an average of 10 incidents per day in and around the buffer zone, engaging with both sides to ensure there is no escalation, UN general secretary Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday in his Unficyp report.

He called on the Security Council to extend the force’s mandate for another six months until the end of July.

The report describes a bleak picture on the Cyprus problem, saying how in the beginning of the reporting period – between 15 June and December 12, 2022 –  “there was some hope that the two sides would redouble their efforts to achieve cooperation on potential bicommunal projects.”

Nonetheless “those hopes were dashed within a few months.”

Guterres said the hope was that through further cooperation on bicommunal projects, this would build more goodwill and trust, paving the way for more projects and, eventually, for a new round of settlement talks.

“A surge in hard-line rhetoric on both sides has led to increased rigidity while the prospects for a mutually agreeable settlement continue to fade.”

The political climate between the two sides was marked by a significant hardening of positions and increase in unhelpful rhetoric, against the backdrop of election campaigning, the report detailed.

There was also “a decrease in public confidence in the possibility of the sides finding common ground on a way forward regarding the settlement talks. Internally, each community tended to focus its attention on domestic political developments and socioeconomic issues.”

The continuing differences added to stresses between the two sides, leading to problems to longstanding programmes such as the decision from ‘authorities’ in the north, to remove support for the award-winning ‘Imagine’ peace education project under the auspices of the Technical Committee on Education.

“It is critical, especially in a time of increased division, that the leaders and their representatives continue to provide the technical committees with the political support that they require to sustain their constructive dialogue and deliver tangible results.

“The technical committees, as one of the few mechanisms where both communities can freely discuss and address issues of common concerns, and in so doing build more favourable conditions for a future settlement, must be protected and insulated from larger political tensions.”

Guterres said he was concerned over the lack of meaningful interaction between both sides, calling on all relevant actors to take constructive approaches in resolving their differences.

Earlier in the day, President Nicos Anastasiades said the government is “definitely not” satisfied by the UN Good Offices and Unficyp draft reports as they do not reflect reality.

An advance copy of Guterres’ good offices report detailed a bleak view and outlook for the Cyprus problem.

The draft reports, both for the good offices and Unficyp, drew mixed reactions from parties on the domestic part, with all agreeing the conclusions were gravely worrying. Opposition Akel called them “perhaps the worst reports of all time.

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