UN envoy searching for common ground

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UN envoy Jane Holl Lute will meet separately with Cypriot leaders on Tuesday to test the waters on whether progress can be made after the Geneva summit in April failed to kick-start stalled Cyprus talks.

Lute is meeting first with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades before crossing the UN-patrolled ceasefire line to hold contacts with Turkish Cypriot leader, Ersin Tatar.

Both leaders have expressed their doubts about the possible success of a new UN summit also involving guarantor powers Greece, the UK and Turkey.

Nicosia argues that Turkey’s hostile attitude has not changed while the Turkish Cypriots insist they will only negotiate if a two-state solution is placed on the table – something the Greek Cypriots reject outright.

The meeting at the Presidential Palace was also attended by Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis.

Lute has also been briefed about the situation on the ground by the UN peacekeeping mission.

A 5+1 UN summit in Geneva on April 27-29 failed to find enough common ground to allow for the resumption of Cyprus talks moribund since 2017.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said he would convene another meeting in the coming months, with the objective of reaching common ground to allow for formal negotiations to restart.

Lute will not recommend that Guterres convenes another summit, unless she sees the required common ground to build on.