Outgoing UN official Moller sees great possibilities for Cyprus settlement
Nicosia.- Lynn Pascoe, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, arrived in Cyprus on Sunday to assess the situation on the island, following recent developments with regard to efforts to resume substantive negotiations, leading to a political settlement that would reunite the country.
On Monday he will be received by President Demetris Christofias and on Tuesday he will talk to the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community Mehmet Ali Talat. He leaves for New York Wednesday to brief the Secretary General.
According to a UN official, Pascoe will not only listen to what the two leaders have to say but he will explore the situation and assess the current state of affairs, following a recent agreement between Christofias and Talat to set up technical committees and working groups to prepare the ground for negotiations. The two leaders have also agreed to open a crossing point to and from the islandʼs northern Turkish occupied areas in Ledra street, in the heart of the capital Nicosia.
The UN, the same official has said, wants to see how it can facilitate these efforts to ensure that when the two leaders meet again in three monthsʼ time, as agreed, significant progress will have been made.
“In his meetings in Cyprus, Pascoe will listen to the various ideas President Christofias and Mr Talat will put forward before he makes any specific recommendations,” he said.
Work on both sides of the ceasefire line, at Ledra street, has begun in earnest by technical teams, after the UN had cleared the buffer zone and declared it safe. It is expected that the crossing point will open by the end of next week.
Pascoe was appointed to his current post on 1 March 2007. Before joining the United Nations, Pascoe was most recently the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia, from October 2004 to February 2007. He previously served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs at the State Department in Washington, D.C., following postings as U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia and U.S. Special Negotiator for Regional Conflicts in the former Soviet Union.
In 1996, Pascoe served at the United Nations as a Special Advisor to the U.S. Permanent Mission to the UN. From 1993 to 1996, he was Director of the American Institute in Taiwan. He also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the East Asian and Pacific Bureau of the State Department, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department of State, and Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State.
In an almost forty-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, Pascoe also held positions on the Soviet and China desks and has been posted to Moscow, Hong Kong and Bangkok, as well as to Beijing twice and to Kuala Lumpur. He speaks mandarin Chinese.
Born in the State of Missouri in 1943, he received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas and his Master of Arts from Columbia University. Pascoe and his wife, Diane, have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.
For the first time in many decades there are now great possibilities to find a solution to the Cyprus problem, outgoing UN SG Special Representative to Cyprus Michael Moller has said, noting that the leaders of the two communities want a solution to the problem.
According to an official press release, Moller who was received on Friday by the Cypriot President Demetris Christofias, for a farewell meeting also expressed wishes to every Cypriot for the “best of luck at a time when there is great hope and great possibilities for a solution that has been elusive for far too long”.
Government Spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said that President Christofias thanked Moller for the “positive, objective and constructive” way, with which he worked the two years of his presence in Cyprus as well as for his contribution to the success of efforts for the resumption of a new Cyprus procedure.
He also welcomed Elizabeth Spehar, the newly appointed UN Secretary Generalʼs Special Representative to Cyprus, expressing the readiness of the Cyprus Government to support her mission.
“And of course we will support the procedure that starts on 7 April at the technical committees and working groups level because we really want to create the conditions which will allow to move towards negotiations between the two leaders and reach a just and viable solution”, Stephanou added.
Referring to the two leaders, Moller said “they are full of good will, there is a very good atmosphere as is the desire on the side of both communities for peace and for reunification. It is a desire that is echoed in the rest of the world and it is time for everybody to get together and find a solution as quickly as possible.”
He further pointed out that he has worked hard for that and he is pleased that he is leaving at a time when there are such expressions of hope and of new possibilities, noting that his colleagues in the UN “will continue to do what they can to help you achieve your goal.”
Asked whether he gave any advice to Spehar, Moller said “to continue helping the two sides to fulfill the responsibilities they have. One of the themes that I have been stressing from the very beginning is that this is a Cypriot problem that needs a Cypriot solution. This is a theme that President Christofias and Mr. Talat both agree with. It is their responsibility as leaders of the two communities”.
He concluded that “the role of the UN is to support them in getting to the point where the solution is at hand and we get something that is sustainable and that will hold.”
Asked whether there are possibilities now for the Cyprus problem to be resolved, Moller replied: “Yes very much so,” adding that “from what I have seen in the last few weeks, I donʼt think that for four decades you have had a better possibility and a better opportunity to get where you need to go.”