Oct 16 2018

UN Secretary General optimistic on Cyprus settlement prospects

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, revealed the results of a fact-finding mission on Cyprus to permanent members of the UN Security Council on Monday night, telling them a comprehensive settlement remains a possibility for the island, the Cyprus Mail reported.

Guterres’ report follows an investigation conducted quietly this summer by UN Special Envoy Jane Holl Lute on the possibility of relaunching talks between the Greek Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus after a previous round of discussions broke down in July 2017.

The island has been divided between the Greek and Turkish states since 1974, when Turkey invaded after Greek nationalists carried out a coup on the island.

Guterres said that Lute’s findings, as well as his own discussions with the leaders of both communities, “prospects for a comprehensive settlement between the communities on the island remain alive.”

The UN general secretary added that he would “instruct Lute to carry out another fact-finding mission before formal negotiations on the willingness of the two sides to propose new ideas,” the Cyprus Mail said.

“It is my hope that these discussions can lead, once again, to the deployment of the full weight of my good offices in what may prove a lasting resolution of the Cyprus issue,” the Cyprus Mail quoted Guterres as saying.

“The view among many informed observers is that a solution will measurably improve the future circumstances of every Cypriot. And while a settlement will demand that each side accept less than the fullest measure of satisfaction, it will also open up opportunities for growth, prosperity, and confidence going forward,” he said.

The general secretary’s emphasis on the importance of “creative ideas” was applauded by Kudret Özersay, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkish Cyprus, calling the report “realistic and well-grounded.”

“It is ‘extremely important’ to refer to the need to reach a consensus at first on what kind of negotiation is going to be, rather than resuming it,” the Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency quoted the minister as saying.

However, the Turkish Cypriot side was less enthusiastic about Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiade’s suggestion last week that the island could be reunified as a loose federation.

“The concept of a loose federation … does not change anything in substance, adding that the root of the problem is that the Greek Cypriots do not want to share administrative powers and wealth with the Turkish Cypriots,” the Cyprus Mail quoted Özersay as saying.