UNSG envoy ‘ready to contribute’ to talks restart

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ personal envoy for Cyprus, Maria Angela Holguín Cuéllar, expressed her readiness to contribute to the resumption of peace talks on the island, following meetings with the two Cypriots leaders.

Cuellar met with President Nikos Christodoulides on Tuesday morning, after which, in comments to the media, she expressed enthusiasm over her mission, noting that she comes from a country where a 50-year conflict eventually led to a peace agreement.

“I believe I can collaborate and do my best to achieve a positive result for Cyprus,” said Cuellar.

She further expressed satisfaction with the efforts made over the decades for the Cyprus issue and stated that she would try to give new impetus to the process and do her best.

The meeting at the Presidential Palace lasted about an hour, followed by a private one-on-one meeting lasting about 20 minutes between the UN envoy and Christodoulides.

According to the Cyprus News Agency (CNA), Cuellar aims to recruit a collaborator with a permanent presence in Cyprus, with her visiting the island at regular intervals to hold a series of meetings.

Following the meeting with Christodoulides, Cuellar held a two-hour meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar.

Concentrate on future

In statements to Turkish Cypriot media, Cuellar referred to a “very good meeting” with Ersin Tatar, emphasising the need to “concentrate on the future”.

As reported by Turkish Cypriot media, in a brief statement to the journalists, the UN envoy reiterated that this is her first visit to Cyprus since being appointed as the Personal Envoy by the UN Secretary-General.

She expressed her intention to assist in restarting discussions on common ground.

“What I am going to do is listen to the people, listen to civil society, understand the needs of the people, and what they want. I learned this after the peace process in Colombia, of which I was a part. We are here to facilitate, and I am very pleased to do so,” she said.

Upon her arrival in the occupied north, Cuellar was greeted by Turkish Cypriot peace activists, as she was crossing Ledra Palace checkpoint.

Activists held banners with slogans such as “We want a federation,” “United Federal Cyprus,” and “We, the Turkish Cypriots, support a federal solution.”

Before leaving the island, Cuellar is also expected to have another meeting with President Christodoulides, with a joint meeting with the Turkish Cypriot leader not off the cards.

The UN envoy is also expected to hold meetings in Athens, Ankara, and Brussels before her next visit to Cyprus.

She will also seek to meet with members of civil society from all districts to get a better understanding of the Cyprus problem.