President Mustafa Akinci receives UN Cyprus envoy at presidential palace in Lefkosa
By Murat Demirci
LEFKOSA, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Turkish Cypriot President Mustafa Akinci said Friday that no negotiations on the Cyprus issue are expected until the middle of this year.
“It seems the nearest date when all the parties are able to be ready [for talks] will be June,” said Akinci, speaking after meeting with UN Special Representative in Cyprus Elizabeth Spehar at the presidential palace in the capital Lefkosa.
“There is no point in postponing [negotiations] later” than that, he added, pointing to Turkey’s local elections on March 31 and European Parliamentary elections at the end of May.
Spehar, who is also head of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), described her meeting with Akinci as “fruitful”.
She said she will discuss the situation regarding the divided island of Cyprus and the UN’s role there during her meeting with U.S. government officials later this month in Washington. She also plans to meet with high-ranking UN officials in New York, including UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
Spehar added that she would brief the UN Security Council on Cyprus on Jan. 23, after which they expect the UN Security Council to decide on the extension of the UNFICYP’s mandate there.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Ankara’s intervention as a guarantor power.
It has seen an on-and-off peace process in recent years, including the collapse of a 2017 initiative in Switzerland under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the UK.