Prospects for resumption of talks a concern for all, but the island’s future remains in Cypriots’ hands, Spehar says

Prospects for the resumption of the negotiations on the Cyprus problem is a concern for all, but we should recall that the future of the island remains first and foremost in the hands of the Cypriots, UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar said on Thursday.

The UN will do its part; the Guarantors must also step up to the plate; and the international community more broadly should remain supportive. But we must all take our lead from the communities themselves, Spehar noted in her speech at a UNPOL medal presentation.

The UNSG’s Special Representative and UNFICYP chief noted that the United Nations believes there is still scope to think creatively and to act decisively about the way forward. The negotiations are a responsibility of the leaders, but the future of the island is a responsibility of all Cypriots. It will take both the leaders and women and men of Cyprus to pave the way ahead to a brighter, shared future for all, she stressed.

Spehar expressed hope that we will see more citizens taking up the challenge to support their leadership towards the goal of a unified Cyprus.

Furthermore, she said that although the talks are facilitated by our sister operation in Cyprus, the Secretary-General’s Good Offices mission, UNFICYP has been playing a crucial role in support of the process, not least through helping to create conditions conducive to successful negotiations and to a sustainable outcome, recalling that the talks have been in hiatus since the closing of the Conference on Cyprus last July

Spehar stressed that since the mission began its operations in 1964, the UN police has played an important role across the island. “A cornerstone of UNFICYP’s successful mandate implementation, they patrol the buffer zone and engage with local community members, contributing to the maintenance of law and order and a return to normal conditions,” she noted.

Furthermore, she said that “following a strategic review of UNFICYP conducted last November, more UNPOL officers have been deployed from our mission headquarters to our three field sectors, which means that they will be closer and more sensitive to the needs of the people whom we are here to serve.”

Spehar noted that “UNPOL facilitates the Joint Communications Room, which enables information to be shared on crimes, criminal matters and humanitarian cases, in parallel with its parent body, the Technical Committee on Crime and Criminal Matters.

Addressing the 16 UN police officers from nine nations who were the recipients of the medals, Spehar thanked them for their service to the United Nations and to the cause of peace in Cyprus. She also paid special tribute to the Senior Police Advisor, Ann-Kristen Kvilekval of Norway, who, as she noted received her first medal since she joined UNFICYP just last autumn.

“I warmly thank the 16 police officers honored here today, as well as Senior Police Advisor Kvivelkval, for their contribution to the peace effort on this island,” she noted.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkish troops invaded and occupied 37% of its territory. The latest round of UN-peace talks at the Swiss resort of Crans – Montana ended without an agreement. Talks held under the auspices of the UN aim at reunifying Cyprus under a federal roof.

Source: Cyprus News Agency