UN envoy to visit as mood darkens

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UN envoy Jane Holl Lute is expected to visit the island again in the coming month to see if the tense climate surrounding the resumption of peace talks has changed.

The Cyprus News Agency said Lute had expressed her intention to visit Cyprus at the end of August; however, there have been no arrangements about the exact dates of her visit.

Her last visit to the island was in June, when she held separate meetings with the Cypriot leaders.

Afterwards, she briefed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and held meetings in Brussels with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

President Anastasiades will visit New York in September to participate in the 76th session of the UN General Assembly on September 21-27.

On the sidelines of the assembly in New York, Anastasiades will meet Guterres, as will Tatar.

A Geneva summit involving guarantor powers Greece, Turkey, Britain, on April 27-29, failed to find common ground to allow for the resumption of formal peace negotiations.

Arguably, since then, the landscape has become more hostile to the resumption of UN-sponsored talks as the Turkish side insists on a two-state solution for Cyprus.

Re-opening part of the ghost town of Varosha is also another sticking point.

Guterres said he would try and convene another summit when possible, but the odds for that happening are becoming longer.

Both Cypriot leaders have expressed their doubts about the possible success of a new UN summit involving the guarantor powers.

Nicosia argues that Turkey’s hostile attitude has not changed.

The Turkish Cypriots insist they will only negotiate if a two-state solution is placed on the table – something the Greek Cypriots reject outright.

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.

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