UN efforts fail to get leaders together

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UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Cyprus, Colin Stewart, has tried but failed to bring Cypriot leaders to at least begin to start talking about a new peace process.

His efforts to get President Nikos Christodoulides and Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar in the same room have not been made possible.

The Cyprus News Agency (CNA) said the reason for this is that Tatar has not, for the time being at least, responded positively to the possibility of attending an event or paying a joint visit with Christodoulides.

According to sources, the UN’s top diplomat in Cyprus had tried to unite the leaders in the framework of a joint visit to the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP).

Christodoulides and Tatar had an informal meeting in late February before the former assumed his duties officially as President of the Republic.

He invited Tatar for a social meeting; however, the Turkish Cypriot leader does not seem overly interested in further breaking the ice.

Stewart is expected to have separate meetings with the two leaders before departing for New York in July, to inform the UN Security Council about developments on the Cyprus problem.

In July, the UNSG Antonio Guterres’ draft reports on his good offices mission in Cyprus and the UN peacekeeping force (UNFICYP) are expected to be distributed to the UNSC members.

However, no resolution for the renewal of UNFICYP’s mandate will be adopted since this will now take place only once a year and the force’s current mandate is valid until January 31 2024.

Based on the practice, each side will submit a document to the UN with its positions attached to the Secretary General’s reports to the Security Council.

Meanwhile, Greek Cypriot negotiator Menelaos Menelaou, and Turkish Cypriot leader’s Special Representative, Ergün Olgun, continue their regular meetings, in Stewart’s presence, to discuss issues related to the bicommunal Technical Committees.

The last round of UN-backed negotiations collapsed in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana.

There have been no Cyprus talks since then, and the climate of mistrust has worsened.