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Trilateral meeting required for envoy appointment (Updated)

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President Nikos Christodoulides on Friday said he is “on the same line” with the UNSG Antonio Guterres regarding the appointment of a UN envoy to assist in the efforts to restart negotiations for the Cyprus problem.

Cyprus’ calls for an appointment of a UN envoy are also supported by the five Permanent Members of the Security Council.

Speaking after their meeting in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, Christodoulides said he was also pleased with the UNSG’s stance on the need for common meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader.

However, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar has turned down an initial proposal by the UN for a tri-lateral meeting, the Greek Cypriot president said, stressing his readiness to attend such a meeting.

Christodoulides said that even on Saturday, he is willing to hold such a meeting which he said, “will also lead to the announcement of the appointment of a person who will explore the prospects for the resumption of talks”.

“I am pleased by what the [UN] secretary-general has informed me in terms of his own intentions…because we are exactly on the same line on both the issue of the appointment of a personality and the need for a trilateral meeting to take place,” the Cypriot president said.

Christodoulides added that the Secretary General communicated to him that EU member states raised the Cyprus issue and the need for the resumption of talks during their separate meetings with him.

“So here we are up to this moment and we are waiting to see”, he added.

Asked if Guterres has the intention to convene a trilateral meeting and will extend an invitation to Tatar tomorrow, Christodoulides said he has already extended such an invitation.

“The answer was negative and tomorrow there will be the meeting, it will be preceded by a meeting with the Turkish Foreign Minister, since unfortunately the meeting with the Turkish President did not take place,” he said.

The president was accompanied to the UN building by Foreign Minister, Constantinos Kombos, Government Spokesman, Constantinos Letymbiotis, the negotiator of the Greek Cypriot side, Menelaos Menelaou, the Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the UN, Andreas Hadjichrysanthou and other officials.

Speaking after the working lunch with the representatives of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council countries, Letymbiotis said all five agree there is a need for the appointment of an envoy.

The representatives also assured the president of their support in resuming negotiations, in line with the recent initiative for a more active involvement of the EU in the efforts, Letymbiotis said.

If appointed, the special envoy, the government spokesman said, is expected to “explore whether there are prospects for the resumption of negotiations and to contribute to the process so that negotiations can resume”.

Asked if the talks would start from where they left off, the Spokesperson said “of course, from where they have stopped, that is our stated position, that is the position reiterated once again by the President of the Republic, to resume negotiations from where they left off in Crans-Montana”.

He added that during the lunch, the issue of the violent incidents at Pyla buffer zone was also discussed and the president thanked the Permanent Five for their decisive stance. But there were no new developments on the matter with the spokesperson saying “we are still in contact with the peacekeeping force”.

After his meeting with Christodoulides, Guterres is set to meet with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos MItsotakis, while the UNSG is scheduled to meet Tatar on Saturday at 7.30pm Cyprus time.

Diplomatic sources had previously suggested that there is a possibility that a trilateral meeting will not take place during the UN General Assembly, but according to diplomatic sources, the UNSG will invite the two leaders to a joint meeting in the near future.

On Thursday, Christodoulides met officials of two countries which are permanent members, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Vice President of China Han Zheng, who both expressed their support for the appointment of a UNSG envoy on the Cyprus question.

Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York that day, Christodoulides called on Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to work together to find a solution based on the agreed international framework.

But in his speech a day earlier, Erdogan said that a federation-based solution is no longer viable for Cyprus.

Meanwhile, officials of two permanent members of the security council expressed their support to the appointment of a UNSG envoy in their respective meetings with Christodoulides on Thursday.

Chinese Vice President Han Zheng reconfirmed China’s support for a bizonal, bicommunal federal solution to the Cyprus problem based on the relevant UN resolutions and the appointment of a UNSG envoy during a meeting with Christodoulides. Before that, US Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland also expressed similar stance.

Earlier this month, the Cypriot president had penned a letter to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres asking for the appointment of a new UN envoy to Cyprus. In the letter, he said the best time to announce the appointment of an envoy will be after a tripartite meeting of the Secretary General with the two leaders.

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