UN envoy to return in March

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UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected back on the island next month to meet Cypriot leaders preparing for a Cyprus summit involving the guarantor powers Greece, Turkey, and the UK.

In mid-March, Lute is expected to hold separate meetings with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar in preparation for the informal UN-led 5+1 summit now probably taking place in Geneva at the end of April.

It will be Lute’s third visit is as many months with the UN seeking to re-engage in moribund Cyprus talks.

A well-informed source told the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), “the intention is for Lute to visit Cyprus. We haven’t discussed the practical details yet, but the visit will probably take place during the second week of March.”

Meanwhile, a meeting of lawyers and constitutional experts advising President Anastasiades will discuss Nicosia’s strategy later Monday, given the UN meeting.

Government Spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos told CNA that members of the team would discuss certain legal issues concerning the Cyprus problem and the informal meeting.

An UN-led five-party conference on Cyprus, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres seeks to hold was intended to convene in New York next month, but this has been moved back.

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.”

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

The EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell will visit Cyprus for contacts on March 5.

Nicosia wants Brussels to participate in the UN summit.

The last UN-backed effort to reunite the island took place in Switzerland, but the July 2017 conference collapsed in acrimony.