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Stewart optimistic about appointment of UN envoy

colin stewart, un envoy, cyprus problem, Unficyp
Unficyp Chief Colin Stewart at the Fourth Cyprus Forum

There are signs that there is movement regarding the appointment of UN envoy on the Cyprus problem, Unficyp Chief Colin Stewart said on Friday at the fourth Cyprus Forum in Nicosia.

He added at the forum that soon there will solution on the issue of the Pylas-Arsos road the Turkish Cypriot side started to construct but abruptly stuffed, after scuffling with peacekeepers in the buffer zone.

Stewart also said that leaving part of the island with no choice but to rely on a third country for everything deepens the divide and undermines the chances of a mutually acceptable settlement.

He also asked for the critical, as he said, work of the Technical Committee on Education to be resumed as a matter of priority.

In his speech, Stewart said that for most of this past year, there has not been much substantial change in relation to the Cyprus issue, but very recently, “we have started to see some hopeful signs,” and in particular he mentioned three.

As a first sign, he mentioned the developments regarding the Pyla episode.

He noted that last month’s crisis in Pyla was serious, as it was the first time in many years that UN peacekeepers had been attacked.

But, beyond this crisis, he noted, eventually calm prevailed and space was created for serious discussions with both sides to find a way to address everyone’s concerns and find a formula that would have a positive outcome for everyone.

“It wasn’t easy. There is a deep mistrust between the two sides, which makes each side question the motivation behind every concern raised by the other,” he said, adding that they had managed to have a very constructive dialogue and expressed optimism that very soon there would be a consensus on the future course.

He noted that dealing with a difficult issue like Pyla and having both sides agree to sit down – in this case each side with the UN – to find common ground, and make substantial progress, was a hopeful sign for Cyprus.

The second sign he said is that there are some signs that there could be a potential appointment of a UN secretary-general representative on the Cyprus problem.

According to Stewart, the third sign was the bicommunal Famagusta event for International Peace Day, held last week, which showed the will of people to find a solution.

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