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UN summit on Cyprus expected in March

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An informal UN-led 5+1 Cyprus conference to resume abandoned peace talks is scheduled to take place in early March, most probably at Greentree in New York.

However, the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to take the final decisions on the exact date and venue of the meeting, taking into consideration the pandemic.

Cypriot Foreign Minister, Nikos Christodoulides, told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA) the UN has informed Nicosia they are considering two possible dates during the first week of March for holding the conference.

“We expect from the UN Secretary-General to take the final decisions which shall be officially communicated to the interested parties,” Christodoulides said.

Guterres now expects deliberations by the UN Security Council on the renewal of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) mandate to wrap up, before he decides on the informal meeting.

The Foreign Minister said according to his information it will last for three days but the UNSG could ask participants to stay longer.

He said the three guarantor powers, Greece, Turkey and the UK, are expected to be represented by their Foreign Ministers.

Christodoulides said he is in contact with his British counterpart, Dominic Raab, who may pay a visit to Cyprus soon to discuss preparations for the informal meeting.

He said Brussels may be represented at the meeting by its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell.

Moreover, Borrell, whom he met on Tuesday in Brussels, told him that he may visit Cyprus before the informal meeting, aiming at the best possible results.

“There is an assessment that the current circumstances are favourable and we hope that they will lead to concrete positive results and will last.

“One thing for certain is that the settlement of the Cyprus problem is a priority for the EU, and this was conveyed to me clearly,” Christodoulides noted.

There have been no official UN-sponsored negotiations on the island’s future since a conference in Switzerland –- also involving Britain, Greece, and Turkey –- collapsed in July 2017.