UN opts for trust-building without breakthrough

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The UN focus in Cyprus is building trust from the bottom up while chances of resuming peace talks after four years of limbo are remote.

UN Security Council members this week held closed consultations on Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ reports and were briefed by Colin Stewart, head of mission in Cyprus.

Stewart told the members of the UN Security Council during the three-hour meeting that the focus of the mission is now to build trust.

Norwegian ambassador Odd-Inge Kvalheim said afterwards: “We heard from the Special Representative that the focus of the mission is very much now on building trust and respect across with the communities.

“A bottom of approach over time to create a better setting for building peace on the island.

He said that Security Council members welcomed the appointment of Colin Stewart to his new post and held an open exchange of views on the situation.

Odd-Inge Kvalheim said the UN recognises the “challenging situation” on the ground.

“This has been more or less a difficult situation for many decades, so it always takes time to solve.

“So as of the moment, there are no breakthrough issues or measures that are on the table.”

UNSC Members also expressed concern about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases, acknowledging the negative socio-economic impact of the virus on the island.

The members of the Council look forward to the renewal of UNFICYP`s term before January 31.

The adoption of the resolution for the renewal of UNFICYP`s term is scheduled to be discussed on January 27.