United Nations.- By Apostolos Zoupaniotis/CNA
Prospects for a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus “remain alive”, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has told the members of the Security Council in his report on his good offices mission which was submitted to them on Monday. He announces that he will instruct his envoy Jane Holl Lute to continue discussions to gauge the true extent of convergence on key issues and the willingness of the sides to incorporate novel proposals as part of an overall solution toward a common future that they themselves can envisage.
In the report`s conclusions, an unofficial copy of which CNA has seen, Guterres notes that “informed by these consultations, as well as my own discussions with the leaders of the two communities, I believe that prospects for a comprehensive settlement between the communities on the island remain alive, notwithstanding the well-known history of the UN’s efforts to broker peace between the communities and the remaining work that the parties must undertake to overcome the challenges that have, to date, impeded resolution.”
“I observe clearly that continued support for a horizon of endless process without result lies behind us, not before us,” he notes.
I note, he continues, “the widespread consensus that an unchanging status quo – i.e., the lack of resolution on the Cyprus issue – is not sustainable.”
“I believe that all Cypriots deserve a common future that one thing alone can bring: a lasting agreement achieved within a clear horizon,” he stresses.
Antonio Guterres also notes that “the parties recall the framework of six points that I offered last June.”
“I also acknowledge that new ideas may additionally be needed in order for a fresh effort to bear fruit,” he adds.
Further, the UN SG continues, “I hold the strong conviction that the way ahead must be well prepared, with a sense of urgency and focus to seize the willingness of the two sides to negotiate.”
“In view of what I understand to be the sides’ interest to engage in such an effort, and before formal negotiations should be launched, I will instruct Ms. Lute to continue discussions to gauge the true extent of convergence on key issues and the willingness of the sides to incorporate novel proposals as part of an overall solution toward a common future that they themselves can envisage, ” he notes.
At the same time, he points out that “prior to resuming full-fledged negotiations, the sides should agree on terms of reference that would constitute the consensus starting point for a possible negotiated conclusion to the Cyprus issue.”
UN Secretary General urges the parties “to mobilize their creativity and commitment to help their communities understand and support the aim of a durable solution.”
In this regard, he writes in his report, “I believe deeply in the vitality, energy and strength of the island’s population, including especially its women and youth, and I urge their greater engagement to help build the necessary confidence to take the steps that such a solution will require.”
“It is my hope that these discussions can lead, once again, to the deployment of the full weight of my good offices in what may prove a lasting resolution of the Cyprus issue,” he concludes.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.