Small steps after leaders reception

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United Nations envoy Colin Stewart hosted a reception for the Cypriots leaders in the buffer zone to defrost Cyprus negotiations reminding them the UNSG has a personal interest in breaking the deadlock.

Last week, the Canadian Colin Stewart arrived on the island, succeeding Elizabeth Spehar.

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar last met in September in New York at a tripartite meeting hosted by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

It was their first time together at a gathering in Cyprus.

President Anastasiades stayed for less than an hour at Tuesday’s reception after meeting Stewart and Tatar.

Stewart also stressed the personal interest Guterres has in the Cyprus problem while praising the achievements of the technical committees.

“We count on you to continue to push your people to solve these little problems that really affect the everyday lives of Cypriots,” he said, addressing Anastasiades and Tatar in a welcome speech.

Stewart spoke of the venue chosen for the reception at the Ledra Palace hotel, noting that it is “a very historical place.”

“It strikes me as very symbolic of the cost of the conflict when we look at what this place must have looked like.

“I am very honoured to have you here with us, and I understand this is the first time you were put together here on the island, so it is a very good occasion for us to mark the end of the year and have you all together.

“I am very pleased to be here and continue the good work of my predecessor Elizabeth and support what I know is a very important cause for the Secretary-General, and that is to support both leaders in finding a mutually acceptable way forward.

“I know it is important to him personally as he has demonstrated in the past year through informal gatherings that he has hosted in Geneva in April and New York in September, and I know he counts on me to do everything I can to support your efforts.

“We have to take comfort in small achievements, but I have been very impressed from what I have been briefed about the work of the Technical Committees.

“In the past year, the Technical Committee on health has reached an agreement on reopening all the crossing points…I think that was very important…harmonising the COVID protocols.”