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25 June, 2024
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Guterres pick for Cyprus becomes new UNFICYP chief

Another Canadian joins UN mission on divided island, very long job title after sides fail to agree on way forward


The Secretary-General has appointed diplomat Colin Stewart as his new Special Representative and Head of UNFICYP, with the Canadian national also getting an asterisk for taking on a temporary deputy role after the two sides on divided Cyprus failed to agree on the proper title of an unfilled position.

According to a UN press release, Stewart will become the new head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus, succeeding Elizabeth Spehar who served in Nicosia for five years.

Greek Cypriots want Guterres to appoint a special representative who would report to the Security Council while Turkish Cypriots say they only agreed on a job title that would bypass UNSC

Stewart, a bilingual seasoned diplomat, will also perform the role of Deputy to the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Cyprus, the statement said, alluding to an unfilled position that has caused the two sides to clash over its official title.

Greek Cypriots in the south say they had agreed during a meeting in New York that UNSG Antonio Guterres would appoint a special representative who would report to the Security Council in order to follow up on discussions of a possible resumption of peace talks.

But Turkish Cypriots in the north say they only agreed that Guterres would have a personal envoy to Cyprus, a job title that would bypass approval by UNSC while the individual would report directly to Guterres.

Cyprus has been divided for decades with expectations to reunify the island running very low.

The south insists that talks about any new efforts to reunify the ethnically-split island should be based strictly within UN parameters that called for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.

But the north is accusing the south of not being sincere in seeking a BBF solution, while also calling for a new formula based on sovereign equality to be included before jumpstarting any talks.

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