Cyprus leaders’ meeting a significant step to keep dialogue on important issues open, Spehar says

Cyprus leaders meeting on Friday is a significant step by them to keep the dialogue open on issues that are of importance to both communities, UN Secretary Generals Deputy Special Adviser and Special Representative in Cyprus, Elizabeth Spehar said on Wednesday evening.

Spehar, who was addressing a reception hosted by the United Nations, in Ledra Palace, at Nicosia buffer zone, on the occasion of the UN Day, said that while not signifying a return to fully-fledged negotiations, Cyprus leaders meeting on Friday is a significant step by them to keep the dialogue open on issues that are of importance to both communities, including the possible opening of crossings that had been agreed in 2015.

The reception was attended by Turkish Cypriot leader, Mustafa Akinci, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot politicians, foreign diplomats, Cyprus religious leaders or their representatives as well as members of the civil society from both sides.

In her remarks Spehar noted that “at this point, we are witnessing once again a critical moment in the Cyprus peace process. No negotiations have taken place for more than one year, a situation that has diminished the hopes for a prompt resumption of talks in both communities,” she added.

The UN official went on to say that “in his latest report, following the recent round of UN consultations with the parties, the Secretary-General has nonetheless concluded that prospects for a comprehensive solution remain alive. The days and weeks ahead will be crucial as the United Nations will continue to engage in discussions with the sides in order to gauge the possibilities and modalities for a return to meaningful, results-oriented talks,” she noted.

Spehar stressed that “in this climate, it is encouraging that the leaders have agreed to meet under UN auspices this coming Friday, October 26.

Moreover she said that as the Secretary-General has repeatedly noted in his reports, while the leaders have the overarching responsibility for the talks, all Cypriots, the Cypriot civil society, “also have a role and can provide real impetus for a renewal of a successful process. It is therefore my hope that the leaders will receive your support and encouragement in the days and weeks ahead, as you all have a stake in the future of this island.”

Noting that “we have themed our 2018 UN Day celebration on youth,” Spehar also stressed that “the importance of youth in advancing peace and security has been increasingly highlighted over the years.”

Referring in particular to Cyprus she said that the Security Council has, as recently as this July and through Resolution 2430, noted the importance of youth in the Cyprus context by recognizing the work of the Bi-Communal Technical Committee on Education and calling on both sides to facilitate intercommunal youth contacts. Such contact is vital if we aspire to a shared vision and a joint future for this island, she stressed.

Two young Cypriots, Turkish Cypriot Umay and Greek Cypriot Natalie, who actively contribute to bicommunal activities promoting contacts between people from the two sides also addressed participants at the reception.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency