Outgoing UN head of mission on Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar, said it was important for Cypriots to keep on believing a peace deal was possible and they should never give up trying.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Representative is leaving her post at the end of September; she was received on Friday by President Nicos Anastasiades at the Presidential Palace for a farewell meeting.
She will meet Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar on Monday to officially say goodbye.
“I came to the Palace to see Anastasiades ahead of his upcoming trips and especially to thank him and his government for all of the cooperation and support over the five-plus years that I’ve been here on the island,” Spehar said afterwards.
“There are a lot of people on this island, on both sides, who continue to work for peace.
“Sometimes they are very courageous, and it is important what they are doing and what they are saying.
“They want to see a better future for this island, for everyone, and I hope that they will continue.”
“Because it is very important to get more people involved in the peace process.”
Spehar recalled that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he would not give up on Cyprus and urged Cypriots to do the same.
“I hope that the Cypriots also will not give up, and I want to thank everyone that I have worked with all of these years.
“And whatever happens in the future, I wish all the best for this island, and I await the day of the solution of the Cyprus problem.
“I hope it will come much sooner rather than later.
“I assure you that I will always have a very soft spot in my heart for Cyprus.”
Arguably, the division in Cyprus has widened between the two communities over the past five years, with no UN-sponsored peace talks since the last failure in 2017.
With mistrust and suspicion deepening, there is little hope for a Cyprus breakthrough in the coming months.