UN Secretary General’s envoy, Jane Holl Lute, concluded her meeting with President, Nicos Anastasiades, as part of her second visit to Cyprus which aims to gauge the true extent of convergence on key issues between the two sides. The meeting lasted two hours.
Lute also met Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci. She leaves early on Thursday for New York.
She did not make any statements upon her arrival and departure from the presidential palace. Present on the part of the Greek Cypriot side were Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides, negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, and Government Spokesman Prodromos Prodromou. Lute was not accompanied by any UN officials.
In his recent report on his good offices mission, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that Lute will “continue discussions to gauge the true extent of convergence on key issues and the willingness of the sides to incorporate novel proposals as part of an overall solution toward a common future that they themselves can envisage.”
In statements to the media after the meeting, government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said Lute, conveyed to President Anastasiades, the position of the Secretary General that the parties should determine and agree, the soonest possible, the terms of reference for the resumption of substantive negotiations in the near future.
He said that the President had the opportunity to elaborate during his meeting with Lute his positions on the decentralization of the central state’s powers.
He described the meeting as particularly productive, and welcomed the UNSG’s position that good preparation is needed prior to the resumption of the talks.
The spokesman noted that Anastasiades elaborated his positions “on how we could achieve a functional solution through the decentralization of powers, without, however amending the given basis of the pursued settlement.”
He also noted that in the forthcoming period the President will brief the National Council about his meeting with Lute.
Asked if Lute referred to a strategic or an interim agreement, the spokesman said that he did not hear of such an issue being put forward during the meeting, reiterating that Lute conveyed the UNSG’s position that “in the framework of the preparation for the resumption of the talks, which is our goal, the parties must reach a conclusion on the terms of reference, with a view to begin the negotiations.”
Asked if the terms of reference concern the procedure or the substance of the negotiations, the spokesman said that the Secretary General’s report refers to this issue. The terms of reference will concern the negotiations, both the process and what will happen at the negotiations, he noted.
Replying to another question, Prodromou said that Lute will also have a meeting with Akinci and then “we will see in which way the UNSG’s position will be implemented, probably through diplomatic consultations.”
He also noted that the President will outline his positions and views also in public.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana, ended inconclusively.
(Cyprus News Agency)