UN says agreement on envoy needed

2 mins read

An important step forward would be an agreement with the sides to appoint a United Nations envoy who could explore common ground for resuming Cyprus negotiations; the UN Secretary-General said in his Mission of Good Offices report.

Meanwhile, in his report on the UNFICYP, he urges the leaders to send a clear signal that “this time, things will be different”.

In his good offices report, focused on developments from December to June 2023, the UNSG Antonio Guterres said, “Any opportunities for building trust and goodwill between the sides that might arise in the coming period should be seized with meaningful initiatives.

“Such initiatives are crucial to creating a momentum towards dialogue that could ultimately chart a path back to settlement talks.

“An important step forward would be an agreement with the sides on an appointment of a United Nations envoy, who could explore ways to reach common ground towards resuming negotiations for a lasting settlement in Cyprus”.

Guterres encourages the two leaders “to be proactive in seeking mutually acceptable modalities for dialogue”.

He urges the two leaders to discuss their respective proposals put forward in the spirit of building trust and finding common ground.

“To this end, both leaders should actively promote people-to-people contact, cooperation and trade, including through improving existing crossing points and the opening of new ones”.

The UNSG calls on the leaders to aim for more inclusive cooperation and links between the two communities now and ultimately in the peace process and to effectively engage and involve women, minorities, youth, and persons with disabilities in discussions about a shared future on the island.

Commending the governments of Greece and Türkiye for the positive shift in their bilateral relations, he encourages “the two leaders in Cyprus to re-engage in dialogue to seek a mutually acceptable way forward”.

Report on UNFICYP

“As time is working against a mutually acceptable political settlement in Cyprus, I call on the leaders of the two communities to take urgent action to address the distrust between the sides and create space for meaningful dialogue, to send a clear signal that this time things will be different”, said Guterres.

He said despite the increase in trade, obstacles to greater economic interaction between the two communities continue to prevent the interdependence that would help pave the way towards a settlement.

It is also essential, he notes, that the sides demonstrate their capacity to jointly address island-wide issues as an intermediary step toward an overall political solution.

“In a region prone to earthquakes and forest fires, a dedicated crisis management mechanism between the two sides seems highly relevant and necessary.

“I am pleased with the ongoing efforts toward setting up such a mechanism.”

He urges the leaders to encourage more direct contact and cooperation between the two communities and to provide concrete support for people-to-people initiatives, as called for by the Security Council.

The UNSG especially egrets: “The absence of substantial progress towards removing divisive and intolerant rhetoric from schoolbooks, especially the Greek Cypriot ones.

“I call on both leaders to reinvigorate the Technical Committee on Education and mandate it to jointly implement its own 2017 recommendations, as called for by the Security Council”.

As of 12 June 2023, the strength of the UN military component stood at 801 (708 men and 93 women), while that of the police component was 64 (37 men and 27 women).