The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative and head of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) Elizabeth Spehar has said that uncertainty regarding the prospects for the resumption of the negotiations aiming to solve the Cyprus problem remains a concern, adding that “these are crucial times both on the island and in the region.”
Speaking last Friday during an event for UNPOL medal presentation, Spehar assured that “at the UN we remain deeply committed to the cause of peace on this beautiful island and to assist both the leaders and women and men of Cyprus to pave the way ahead to a brighter, shared future for all.”
“These are crucial times, both on the island and in the region. While uncertainty regarding the prospects for the resumption of the negotiations remains a concern, recent polling demonstrates that the desire for peace among the majority of Cypriots in both communities endures and has grown even stronger,” Spehar noted.
Moreover, she said that “UNFICYP plays a vital role in support of the talks that are facilitated by our sister operation in Cyprus, the Secretary-General’s Good Offices mission, through helping to create conditions conducive to successful negotiations and to a viable and sustainable outcome.”
Meanwhile speaking on Monday to CNA, a Cyprus government source said it would a surprise if a meeting of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci does not take place. The meeting is expected to take place, as Cyprus Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides said last week, at the end of November, most probably in Europe. What is expected is for the time and place of the meeting to be finalized, the same source told the Agency adding that to this end there is communication with the UN.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied its northern third. Turkey has ignored numerous UN resolutions calling for the withdrawal of the Turkish troops and respect of the integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The last round of negotiations, in the summer of 2017, at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.