Divided Cyprus’ leaders are on standby following a meeting they had together with the Secretary General, with reports saying a joint statement was past due following disagreement over specifics in assigning another UN representative on the island.
According to local media, Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot officials are not on the same page as regards to an agreement between the two leaders and UNSG Antonio Guterres, following a lunch meeting the three men had in New York on Monday.
Local media reported that government sources in the south said President and Greek Cypriot leader Nicos Anastasiades had agreed during the meeting with Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar that Guterres would appoint a “special representative” to follow up on discussions of a possible resumption of peace talks.
A special representative would need to be approved by the UN Security Council, which recently issued a presidential statement that was welcomed by Greek Cypriots and rejected by Turkish Cypriots.
Diplomatic sources in the south went as far as to say this disagreement could mean a joint statement or official announcement about the meeting may not be forthcoming
On the other hand, Turkish Cypriot sources say Tatar would agree for Guterres having a “personal envoy” to Cyprus, a job title that would bypass approval by UNSC. It is also understood such a person would report directly to Guterres.
Diplomatic sources in the south, according to local media, went as far as to say that the disagreement on this issue could mean that a joint statement or official announcement about the meeting may not be forthcoming.
The UN Secretary General had invited the two leaders to New York to explore the possibility of taking the next steps ahead of a possible renewed effort to seek a path to resume dialogue.
But low expectations due to key disagreements meant the effort could fail before it could ever get off the ground.
Greek Cypriots in the south insist that talks about any efforts to reunify the ethnically-split island should be based strictly within UN parameters that called for a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
Turkish Cypriots in the north, who say the south is not sincere in seeking a BBF solution, argue that a new formula based on sovereign equality was necessary to jumpstart talks.
A two-state solution favored by the north and Ankara has been rejected by the south, as well as the EU, US, and other countries.
But according to Kathimerini Cyprus, new discussions seeking middle ground were still being sought.
Kathimerini’s Pavlos Xanthoulis wrote in his opinion piece on Sunday about a British initiative with informal ideas on restarting negotiations that could be the “tinder” in the stalled peace process.
“The two sides have already made moves that cannot go unnoticed,” Xanthoulis explained.