UN not giving up on appointing envoy

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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is actively consulting with both sides on appointing an envoy to get derailed Cyprus talks back on track.

This was the message from visiting UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, after meeting President Nikos Christodoulides Wednesday.

The post of senior UN official in reunification talks has been empty for almost two years.

During that time, relations between the two communities have worsened, and Turkey has advocated a two-state solution that challenges the UN-backed federal model.

Lacroix said he would not comment on reports that the Turkish side rejected the appointment of Australian Julie Bishop as envoy.

“What I can tell you is that the Secretary-General continues to be in consultation with the two sides very actively, so this is really what we are doing regarding this question,” Lacroix said.

An immediate appointment of a special envoy or special advisor to the UN Secretary-General,  accountable to the Security Council, would help to re-launch a full negotiating process stalled since 2017.

Three main obstacles to appointing an envoy are the terms of reference for the position and the appointee’s job title.

And neither side believes that the other will negotiate in good faith even if an envoy is chosen.

Guterres has refused to consider selecting an envoy unless the Greek and Turkish Cypriots can resolve the questions of terms of reference and job title.