Location, date of UN summit not pinned down

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A date and location for the UN-led five-party conference on Cyprus, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seeks to hold remains undecided, although it was scheduled to convene in New York next month.

Guterres said last month he intended to convene a 5+1 informal meeting in early March.

Cypriot leaders and guarantor powers Greece, Turkey and the UK are invited to attend to help clarify “the true extent” of their common vision “and outline steps necessary to chart a way forward.”

Although the summit was scheduled for early March, this no longer seems feasible, a diplomatic source told CNA.

Sources told CNA that the location and date of the five-party conference have not been set, but it seems “impossible” the conference can take place in early March, in New York.

“There are difficulties, due to existing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 and possibly due to games Turkey is playing,” the source said.

Nicosia fears that Turkey is “playing games” with the date, due to the European Council in March, as well as broader geopolitical relations.

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell will visit Cyprus for contacts on February 19.

President Nicos Anastasiades said about the summit on Monday: “What we are aiming at is to see Turkey proving in practice, and not just through rhetorical references, that it wants a sincere and constructive dialogue, based on international law, away from any threats or illegal actions.”

The last UN-backed effort to reunite the island took place in Switzerland but the July 2017 conference failed to yield any results.