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16 June, 2024
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UN envoy Cuellar initiates diplomatic odyssey in Cyprus talks

Cyprus negotiations pivotal as Cuellar engages in Athens

Yiannis Ioannou

Yiannis Ioannou

Maria-Angela Olguin Cuellar has been in Athens since Monday morning, following her departure from Cyprus, where she engaged with key figures including the former President, Nikos Anastasiades, and the former leader of the Turkish Cypriot community, Mustafa Akinci, pivotal figures during the 2016-2017 Cyprus negotiations.

Greece serves as the initial destination in the diplomatic shuttle crafted by the new personal envoy of the UN Secretary-General. Her journey, inaugurated by an exploratory visit to Cyprus, will later extend to Turkey, London, and Brussels before circling back to Cyprus in March, underscoring her commitment to breaking the deadlock in Cyprus. According to insider sources from "K", Mrs. Olguin aims to leverage diplomatic capital among the directly involved countries in Cyprus (i.e., guarantor powers) to foster a political horizon for reinvigorating negotiations.

Encounter with Gerapetritis
Shortly after 10 a.m., Mrs. Olguin crossed the threshold of Vasilissis Sofias Avenue for a meeting with the Greek Foreign Minister, Georgios Gerapetritis. Their exchange delved into the Cyprus issue, while the Colombian UN diplomat also received insights into developments within the Greek-Turkish dialogue, particularly post-Erdogan's visit to Athens last December. This visit marked the onset of a "calm" in Greek-Turkish relations, sparking optimism within diplomatic circles in Greece and Cyprus regarding the potential positive impact of strategic dialogue between Athens and Ankara and efforts to revitalize Cyprus after seven years of stagnation.

Firmness within the UN framework
Later in the day, Mrs. Olguin convened with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the Maximos Mansion. The meeting, as reported by "K", transpired in an amicable atmosphere, with the Greek Prime Minister reiterating Athens' steadfast commitment to resolving the Cyprus issue in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions and within the framework of a BBF (bizonal, bicommunal federation). He also emphasized Athens' readiness to contribute constructively to efforts aimed at overcoming the impasse in Cyprus negotiations with a positive agenda. Earlier, Mr. Gerapetritis underscored how resolving the Cyprus issue fosters conditions of peace, economic development, and stability in the Eastern Mediterranean, adding a regional dimension to the discourse surrounding Cyprus as an unresolved issue in its sub-region.

Shaping the climate
Mrs. Olguin's visit to Athens arrives at an intriguing juncture following the Turkish Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan's interview on Sunday, where he delineated the Cyprus issue from Greek-Turkish matters and revisited familiar Turkish claims in the Aegean (regarding island status, demilitarization, etc.). Concurrently, reactions from both the government and the Turkish Cypriot side in Cyprus to the interview of the British High Commissioner, Irfan Siddiq, in "K", underscore a period of heightened activity on the Cyprus issue in both communities, echoing across the internal political landscapes. Beyond this, Mrs. Olguin's journey to Ankara assumes significance, awaiting the potential reception at the highest echelons by President Erdogan or Turkish Vice President, Sevket Yilmaz (note: the vice presidency oversees the Cyprus dossier and "TRNC"-Ankara relations), as well as the anticipated outcomes upon her return to Cyprus in early March.

[This article was translated from its Greek original]

Cyprus  |  Cuellar  |  UN  |  Turkish  |  president  |  government

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