An informal “five plus one” meeting on Cyprus will take place in Geneva during Greek Orthodox Holy Week, after a UN spokesperson confirmed location and dates for yet another historic sitdown.
“The Secretary-General intends to convene an informal five-plus-one meeting on the Cyprus issue in Geneva, Switzerland, from 27 to 29 April 2021,” said Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for UNSG Antonio Guterres.
In a written statement on Wednesday, Dujarric reiterated Guterres’ position that the purpose of the informal meeting would be to “determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon.”
Government spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos hesitated to provide a timeframe on the 'foreseeable horizon' reference, saying 'tight deadlines' would not be productive
The dates were picked following consultations conducted on Guterres’ behalf by senior UN official Jane Holl Lute, who met over the past several months with all parties, both Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders, as well as the island’s three guarantor powers Greece, Turkey, and Britain.
Greek Cypriot government spokesperson Kyriacos Koushos hesitated to provide a timeframe on the “foreseeable horizon” reference, saying Thursday morning on state radio that “tight deadlines” would not be productive throughout the process as some issues “might need further discussion.”
Further meetings were expected between Lute and Cypriot leaders before the informal meeting in Geneva, according to local media.
Cyprus has been divided for half a century with the two communities on the ethnically-split island, Greek Cypriots in the south and Turkish Cypriots in the north, failing to reach agreement to reunify the island.
Greek Cypriots have called for a federal solution, while Turkish Cypriots insist on a two-state model, saying federation was no longer realistic.
A UN-sponsored peace plan in 2004 that would have reunited the island in a federation was rejected by Greek Cypriots while the majority of Turkish Cypriots voted in favor.
Both sides have accused each other of intransigence, while natural gas explorations off the island have caused further tension in the region.