Decision on Guterres’ participation in Conference on Cyprus to be taken ‘much later,’, UN says

The participation of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in a Conference on Cyprus, expected to take place in the coming weeks, will be decided at a later stage, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said here today.

«Ι am not in a position to elaborate. The Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot leaders met yesterday under the auspices of Special Advisor Mr Eide. There are more meetings planned. I think they meet a week later in the month of February in order to prepare for the continuation of the Conference on political level in early March. As for the Secretary General it will be decided much later,” the spokesman said.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci asked yesterday the United Nations to prepare, in consultation with Cyprus` guarantor powers, for the continuation of the Conference on Cyprus at political level in early March.

UN Secretary General`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide said in a written statement, following the meeting which Anastasiades and Akinci had in the framework of their UN-led negotiations aiming to solve the Cyprus problem,  that the two leaders decided that they will meet weekly through the month of February to address outstanding issues and that their negotiators will also continue their regular meetings. According to Eide, the next leaders’ meeting will be held on 9 February 2017.

The Conference on Cyprus convened under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, with the participation of Anastasiades and Akinci, the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom as guarantor powers, and in the presence of the European Union as an observer, to address the issue of security and guarantees, a crucial chapter in discussions for a Cyprus settlement.

The Conference decided to establish a working group at the level of deputies to identify specific questions and the instruments needed to address them, and that the Conference will continue at political level immediately thereafter to review the outcome of the working group’s discussions.

In parallel, according to the decision, the negotiations on outstanding issues in the other chapters will continue between the two sides in Cyprus.

The working group of deputies met in Mont-Pelerin, Switzerland, on January 18-19, and according to the UNSG`s Special Adviser on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide “successfully completed the mandate entrusted to it by the Conference.”

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. Anastasiades and Akinci have been engaged in UN-led negotiations since May 2015, with a view to reunite the island under a federal roof.

source: CNA