It appears that the United Nations have sounded out both sides in Cyprus regarding a UN special envoy, but sources say it is still unclear whether Turkey gave the nod.
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Stéphane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, points to timing as an important factor in making a final decision to begin a new round of exploratory talks on the divided island.
“Two things are crucial in assigning a new special envoy. Timing and the envoy,” Dujarric said.
Nicosia expects that a visit on the island could take place in mid July, but it is not clear whether additional visits in other capitals are being worked out
According to Kathimerini Cyprus, citing a well informed source, representatives of the UNSG Antonio Guterres have already sounded out both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots on the special envoy, with both already agreeing on Jane Holl Lute, a former US Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security.
Nicosia estimates that a visit on the island could take place in mid July, possibly between 9 and 12, but it is not clear whether Turkey has agreed to Lute assignment or whether additional visits in other capitals are being worked out.
The three guarantor powers in Cyprus - Greece, Turkey, and the United Kingdom – would have to be consulted over a new special envoy, but Turkish elections on June 24 have ruled out that anything could take place before early July.
President Nicos Anastasiades recently expressed hope that a special envoy would start consultations on the Cyprus peace process following the general elections in Turkey.
Following a public spat last month on the elusive Guterres framework, between Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, both sides on the divided island have been trying to pin down the exact UN guidelines for resuming and potentially resolving the Cyprus problem.
Another timing factor is a new Guterres report expected to be submitted at the UN Security Council on June 15.
All eyes are on this report next week, as rhetoric on both sides got intense over the UN road map that failed to bring the two sides close to an agreement last year in Switzerland.
But timing and picking the right person for the job remains the big challenge for the UN.
“When we feel that the time is right for both of those things, we will move forward,” Dujarric said.