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UN: Two leaders must come to agreement and then reach out to Guterres

The UN’s position is that the two leaders in Cyprus must come to an agreement on the way forward and then reach out to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, a source has told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) when asked about the possibility of convening an informal conference on Cyprus.

President Nicos Anastasiades  expressed on Thursday his readiness to meet with Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, welcoming the latter’s proposal for an informal conference.

The same source told CNA that the last thing that the UN Secretary-General told the leaders at the end of the Conference on Cyprus in Crans-Montana, two years ago, is that nobody should give up hope, to reflect, and that he wanted both of them to come back to him when they are ready with a plan of when, how and where they want to meet and do a deal, and not before they are all agreed on how they want to proceed.

With regard to the positions expressed by the two leaders on the convening of an informal conference the same source said that this is not enough as “both of them still have their conditions and that is not what the Secretary-General asks for. The Secretary-General asks for an agreement between them on when, how, where to proceed,” the source stressed.

The leaders, the source added, need to meet, have their discussion and agree something, and then go to the Secretary General, and expressed the view that each side has currently a different perspective as regards the convening of a conference.

Asked if it would be better for a meeting of the leaders to take place in the UN Secretary-General’s special envoy Jane Holl Lute’s presence, the source noted that it is up to the leaders to decide which people are involved in that meeting.

Lute has discussed with the two sides, the source said, the possibility of a conference, adding that “Akinci talked to Lute about his proposal for a five-party conference.”

Government Spokesman, Prodromos Prodromou, said on Thursday that with his proposal, conveyed to Guterres, for the convening of an informal conference with the same format as the one of that held in Crans-Montana, Akinci is essentially adopting one of the President’s proposals that was submitted in writing to Guterres in a letter dated June 14.

Meanwhile, the UN Security Council will be briefed on Friday at 1500 New York time by the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Cyprus (UNICYP), Elizabeth Spehar, as later this month a resolution for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate will be put before the Council for adoption. The source told CNA that the Security Council meeting is primarily about UNFICYP but the Council  wants to know what is happening with the peace talks and will discuss about the current situation.

After the meeting Spehar and the Security Council President will deliver statements.

With regard to the visit that the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operation Jean-Pierre Lacroix will be paying to Cyprus next week, the source said that the UN official’s focus will be the peacekeeping mission in Cyprus.

Lacroix will hold meetings with Anastasiades and Akinci and visit the buffer zone. He also meet with civil society organizations.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. 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.

(Cyprus News Agency)

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