Spehar holds meetings with leaders before departing for New York

UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus and head of UNFICYP Elizabeth Spehar is set to hold meetings on Friday with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, ahead of her visit to New York where she will brief the UN Security Council on January 23.

A resolution on the renewal of UNFICYP mandate, the UN peace keeping force in Cyprus, will be tabled before the body for approval on January 30.

President Anastasiades will receive Spehar at 1100 hours local time (0900 GMT), while her meeting with Akinci has been scheduled for1500 hours local time.

In the meantime, the UN Secretariat had not handed over to Security Council members the Guterres` report on UNFICYP by late afternoon yesterday New York time, as was expected. Diplomatic sources attribute the delay to technical reasons and have said the report will be handed over today.

On the basis of the Security Council`s agenda so far, countries who contribute to the force will meet on January 17, while Spehar is set to brief Security Council members on January 23. The renewal mandate is expected to be adopted on January 30.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory.

Comprising military and civilian personnel from various contributing countries, UNFICYP arrived in Cyprus in March 1964 after intercommunal fighting broke out. The mandate of the force is renewed every six months by the Security Council.

source: CNA