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UN Cyprus envoy Lute to visit divided island in first half of January

UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Cyprus, Jane Holl Lute, is set to once again visit the divided island in the first half of January to hold meetings with the two sides, CNA reported on Wednesday citing informed sources.

Her visit is part of preparations with a view to have a 5+1 informal meeting on the Cyprus problem.

A source also said that UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, aims at best preparing the informal meeting.

“What is important is for the informal meeting to be convened and the parties to express their views officially,” the source also said, adding that Lute will probably visit Turkey again as well.

Meanwhile, the UNSG’s reports on the peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) and his good offices mission are expected to be submitted to the UN Security Council around January 10.

The Security Council will hold a discussion about the reports probably the week beginning on January 25 and a resolution for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate will be put to the vote before January 31st.

In view of the submission of the UNSG’s reports to the Security Council his Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, is expected to hold separate consultations with Cyprus President, Nicos Anastasiades, and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

Her talks will be carried out either in person or by telephone after January 7, however, nothing has been scheduled so far.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic Spehar is not planning to fly to New York for the consultations that will take place there about the UNSG’s reports which she will have via videoconferences.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The latest UN backed round of talks took place in 2017, in the Swiss resort of Crans Montana, but failed to yield any results.

Comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, UNFICYP arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after inter-communal fighting broke out.

The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the UN Security Council.

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