Antonio Guterres will decide on next Cyprus steps after seeing Lute

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will decide on his next steps on the Cyprus issue after he speaks to his special envoy Jane Holl Lute to New York, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a regular briefing to the press at the United Nations headquarters on Thursday.

Noting that the Security Council unanimously voted to extend the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force in Cyprus (Unficyp) until January 31, 2019, Dujarric added: “We obviously welcome the fact that the mandate was renewed.”

Asked whether the Guterres saw this as a time of fresh opportunity and direct engagement by the Secretary-General himself, Dujarric said that Lute had gone to Cyprus and listened to what the parties had to say.

Lute was in Cyprus on Monday and met both leaders separately. She left on Tuesday.  Her mandate was to assess prospects for a resumption of talks after the failure of negotiations last July in Crans-Montana Switzerland.

“She is back in New York and then the Secretary-General will decide on next steps,” he added.

Lute was reportedly to return to Europe before submitting her official report to Guterres in early September. In the meantime, she was to carry out a series of contacts in Athens, Ankara and London, the capitals of the guarantor powers, and in Brussels.

The Security Council on Thursday adopted a resolution on Thursday n night renewing Unficyp’s mandate.

In it, the  Council called on the two leaders to foster positive public rhetoric, and clearly explain the benefits of the settlement. The resolution also stressed the need for “increased flexibility and compromise” and called on all parties concerned to demonstrate the necessary political will and to engage in a constructive spirit in the ongoing deliberations under UN auspices, in order that reunification talks may recommence. It also called on the parties to cease and desist from any actions which may damage the prospects for success including by “refraining from rhetoric that could make a successful process more difficult to accomplish”.

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