A draft report by the UN Secretary General on the peacekeeping force in divided Cyprus has been leaked to Greek Cypriot media, prompting political pundits to point to bleak and candid references to a host of divisive issues including.
According to the Cyprus News Agency, which cited diplomatic sources referencing an unofficial copy of Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ report on UNFICYP, the UN chief believes it would be “extremely difficult” to achieve reconciliation “as long as the two communities remain apart and rely on divisive narratives to formulate their understanding of the other.”
Guterres argues that prospects of a mutually-agreeable settlement on Cyprus continued to fade, as the political climate between the two sides, Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north, was marked by a significant hardening of positions and increase in unhelpful rhetoric against the backdrop of election campaigning.
It is unclear whether the Security Council will reiterate its commitment to a federal solution or simply reassure parties that UN efforts will not be constrained in their search for common ground
Greek Cypriot political pundits were quick to point out that for the first time there was no reference to federation as a solution aim in the report, with the Greek Cypriot side remaining firmly committed to a a bicommunal, bizonal federation with political equality and the Turkish Cypriot insisting on a two-state solution based on sovereign equality.
A final report is expected later this week, ahead of a renewal of the UNFICYP mandate that expires January 31.
But it is unclear whether the Security Council will reiterate its firm commitment to a federal solution in Cyprus or simply reassure parties that UN efforts will not be constrained in their search for common ground for the resumption of talks.
The UN chief reportedly slams Greek Cypriots for blocking access to asylum procedures at crossing points along the Green Line in UN buffer zone, “leading to an increase in irregular crossings and rendering asylum seekers at risk of exploitation.”
Greek Cypriot government officials accuse Turkey of pushing economic migrants to seek asylum on the island’s EU side, while Turkish Cypriots in the unrecognized north say they have offered to establish cooperation with the south to manage irregular migration.
Guterres also brings to light many challenges, such trade across the Green Line, the question about the status of ghost town Varosha, as well as new political developments such as Washington lifting an arms embargo on the south and the north seeking a formal agreement with UNFICYP.