Rival Cypriot leaders to attend UN event

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Cypriot leaders have responded positively to the UN’s intention to organise a reception at Nicosia’s Ledra Palace, on 14 December, in a rare social gathering of the two sides.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar have said they would attend an event to welcome the arrival of Colin Stewart, head of the UN peacekeeping force (UNFICYP).

They have only met on a handful of occasions but have yet to agree on direct negotiations.

“We confirm that we have responded positively to the UN about holding this reception, in which we are ready to participate,” government Spokesman, Marios Pelekanos, told CNA.

He said the issue is expected to be discussed during President Anastasiades’s meeting on Friday with Stewart at the Presidential Palace.

It will be an acquaintance meeting, during which President Anastasiades is expected to inform the UN official about the positions of the Greek Cypriot side on the resumption of moribund Cyprus talks.

Later Friday, Stewart will also meet Tatar.

Tatar’s office has already announced that the Turkish Cypriot leader will attend the UN reception if the COVID-19 situation allows it.

Meanwhile, Stewart visited the buffer zone in Nicosia on Wednesday as part of his familiarisation with the area.

According to a UN Cyprus post on Twitter, he was accompanied by UNFICYP’s Force Commander, Ingrid Gjerde, and UN Police Senior Police Advisor, Satu Koivu.

He also met with UN peacekeepers who monitor the area.

There have been no UN-sponsored Cyprus peace talks since July 2017.