Elizabeth Spehar is laying the groundwork with separate meetings with the two Cypriot leaders, just weeks prior to UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute’s visit to the island.
Spehar, who is Deputy Special Adviser to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, held separate meetings Friday with Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades in the morning and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci at noon.
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, Lute had requested that these preliminary meetings take place ahead of her official visit, expected in late July.
But observers say Lute’s arrival on the island does not signal a restart of peace talks, adding that and a lot will depend on how the process goes forward step by step
Lute, a seasoned diplomat and former US Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, will follow in the footsteps of Norwegian diplomat-turned-politician Espen Barth Eide, who was the latest go-between for the two Cypriot leaders and the UN up until the collapse of talks in July 2017 during a Cyprus conference in Crans Montana.
But observers say Lute’s arrival on the island does not signal a restart of peace talks, adding that and a lot will depend on how the process goes forward step by step.
Anastasiades said in a recent statement he would tell Lute that the Greek Cypriot side is ready to pick things up from where they were left off, referring to Crans Montana.
“We will express our determination to Ms Lute for the continuation of dialogue from the point where it became a dead end, always based on the framework that was set by the statement on the 30th (of June), as it was further clarified on 4 July 2017,” the president said.
Lute is expected to hold meetings in Ankara, Athens, and London before her visit to Cyprus, as it has been customary among her predecessors.
Spehar is expected to travel to New York where she will meet with Lute next week.