UN SG Guterres on the search for a new personal envoy for Cyprus

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is considering appointing a new temporary representative for Cyprus, tasked with meeting with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish-Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, so as to discuss the prospect of resuming talks.

As Cyprus News Agency reports, Guterres was briefed by his special representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar, following her meetings with the two leaders and is now seeking to assign a mission to another official with negotiating experience but who will not be directly involved. According to diplomatic sources, he will not appoint a new adviser unless there is a strong possibility for new negotiations.

The position previously belonged to Espen Barth Eide, who withdrew after the Crans-Montana talks in Switzerland collapsed last year, after having served for 27 months. Eide came under fire when he said that the talks collapsed because of a “collective failure”, while Nicosia was putting the blame 100pct on Ankara.

For the moment, Guterres seems to favor former Assistant UN Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Missions, Jean-Marie Guehenno from France. However this choice deemed unacceptable by Turkey, due the fact that his is a EU citizen. Ankara, according to CNA, highlighted that they could not accept EU citizens as representatives of the UN.

Among the candidates, Guterres is also considering people from Canada and Brazil, but no names have become known. He will announce his decision soon, according to the same diplomatic sources.

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