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Government consents to appointment of UN envoy (Updated)

maría Ángela holguín in 2018 – perú, en cartagena de las indias, colombia (cropped)
Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar

The government on Wednesday gave its consent for the individual pegged by the UN secretary-general to be his envoy in Cyprus, government spokesman Konstantinos Letymbiotis said, with the individual’s mission expected not to be indefinite.

Speaking at a media briefing at the presidential palace, Letymbiotis said the government has given its formal consent for the envoy to begin working on the matter.

“We expect a positive response from the Turkish Cypriot side as well.”

Despite the advanced stage of talks on the matter, however, he said he could still not officially name the envoy.

Regarding the name of the individual that has circulated, Letymbiotis said: “We cannot confirm anything, and we need to wait for the official announcement from the UN Secretary General.”

The government’s hesitance in naming an envoy has not been shared by the media, with reports across Cypriot and international media saying Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar has been chosen as the envoy.

Cuellar served as foreign minister of Colombia between 2010 and 2018 and was also head of the Colombian mission to the UN and the ambassador of her country to Venezuela.

Asked by the Cyprus Mail to comment on the envoy staying in Cyprus for six months, Letymbiotis did not mention a specific timeframe.

“We hope that there will be sincere political will (also from the other side) and that the negotiations will resume as soon as possible,” he said.

However, sources later said that the envoy would stay for a short period of time, to begin laying the groundwork.

Should Guterres’ choice of an envoy be accepted by the Turkish Cypriot side, she will scope out the prospects of restarting substantive dialogue on the Cyprus problem.

The envoy would be expected within her term to establish if there are any points on which the two sides can cooperate without preconditions.

Turkish Cypriot Leader Ersin Tatar is currently not on the island, but rather in Kyrgyzstan, and his consent would be required for the appointment of an envoy to be made official.

He had said on Monday that “we can meet if they appoint a personal representative, rather than carrying on with the federation approach.”

However, since the name has been announced, the Turkish Cypriot side has failed to comment.

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