A senior United Nations diplomat met Cypriot leaders on Wednesday to find a way to fix broken Cyprus peace talks to reunite the decades-long divided Mediterranean island.
Visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, Rosemary DiCarlo, said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was committed to resolving the stalemate.
She met newly elected Cyprus president Nikos Christodoulides on Wednesday before crossing the UN-controlled buffer zone for talks with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.
“We discussed at length the Cyprus issue, and we just want to reiterate the commitment of the Secretary-General to supporting a resolution of the Cyprus issue,” Di Carlo told reporters.
Di Carlo – on her first visit to Cyprus — said she would later meet Tatar “to discuss further a way forward.”
Cyprus government spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis said the message given to Di Carlo was a determination for the immediate resumption of negotiations.
“We are already at the negotiating table, and we also expect Mr Tatar to come with a sincere will to the negotiating table to achieve a solution of a bizonal bicommunal federation,” said Letymbiotis
There have been no formal UN-sponsored peace talks for nearly six years.
The Mediterranean island is divided between the internationally recognised Republic of Cyprus, an EU member, and a northern statelet established after Turkey launched a 1974 invasion in response to a Greek-sponsored coup.
Ankara only recognises the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Christodoulides and Tatar had their first meeting last month to try and break the ice on frozen reunification talks.
Christodoulides won a closely contested presidential election on February 12 and assumed the post on March 1.
Diplomats have struggled to move the dial on Cyprus talks as Tatar insists on the recognition of two separate sovereign states, rejecting the loose federal model promoted under the UN umbrella.
Past UN peace talks have yet to yield results. The most recent talks collapsed at Crans-Montana, Switzerland, in July 2017.